Juggling with Ps – The Picture of Philosophy

  • When everything is a lie, lie detectors are akin to mousetraps where rats are extinct. What we need is a truth detector. Philosophy ought to be that touchstone to detect truth.pic of philosophy
    True normality  
    • When one’s inheritance is from the cloud every one is a prnce or a princess.
    • Will Durant  tells the Story of Philosophy in over 600 pages and Kant takes 800 pages for the Critique of Pure Reason. Yet the story is far from complete. Schopenhauer laments,  “ I could not find a shorter way of imparting it than this book, The World as Will and Idea.
    • Philosophy has gone out of fashion. We should  not expect the princes  to wade through the semantic swamp of philosophy and the other disciplines and  come up with a new synthesis.
    • The shorter way, a new synthesis,  is an imperative. A picture is worth thousand words is an understatement which discounts the value of maps, and mapping. Text can never be free of slipperiness and linearity. We need more maps and pictures to avoid killing more trees, more so when reading has given way to viewing. Visual literacy has become a critical competency.
    • The perceived normal is the abnormal. We can now see the truly normal
    • History is Philosophy in motion (Croce). Pull down the tent poles of space and time, history and philosophy collapse to the present and the two meet. The true historian (all history is lies and it is always His story not hers and western philosophy is no different) and the true philosopher would meet at this  moment of truth. The  artist,scientist, theologian and the pursuers of other paths too would meet at the same cross roads if the synthesis  is effective. We would be saving a lot of wasted effort when all of us use the same philosopher’s compass.
    • Most of our partners in dialogue had  their background in business, governance and developmental management. We worked together to arrive at the common ground since it  is from here that accelerated community learning  takes off.
    • Less is more. “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
    • Connect > Occam’s razor
    • Philosopher’s stone
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Hutter
    • Intelligence > Problem Solving> Continual improvement
    • Why AI, artificial intelligence > Modeling NI, natural intelligence, with gainful compression of knowledge

A User Manual to the Self


“Yes, Johnny”

“The PC is not working”

“Look up the user manual”


“Yes, Johnny”

“The UPS is not working”

“Look up the User Manual”


“Yes, Johnny”

“I can’t figure this out. Where is my User Manual?”

“Ask Panditji”. (Panditji is the neighbourhood astrologer and dad a Professor of Strategic Human Resource Management in an ivy league B- School.)

Machines and gadgets come accompanied by a User Manual. But we do not come across a User Manual to  the most sophisticated system that we own and use, the self.  We use it  in very different ways and pay very heavily for our ignorance of the design of the system.

There must be some principles that one cannot do without for achieving better outcomes. These posts focus on them.

Self is the system through which we ‘see’, create meaning and make choices. The choices decide whether our actions lead to improvement or otherwise.

With more and more options available to each one of us the opportunity could as well be a threat,  how the interface is aligned will decide whether it will lead to greater good or havoc.

Self is the observer and also the observed. Reality is perceived / created by our inherited mental models that evolved over the history of humanity. If the world has turned out to be imperfect, it has more to do with our models of the world than anything else.

Being the instrument of all knowing and learning, study of the self is the first discipline, the foundation/unifier of all other disciplines.

The practice evolved through a process of dialogue since 1990 using the First Discipline Framework as a tool to create  convergence through  a process of discovering, enhancing and strengthening the individual, group, organisational and community self. The approach facilitates the emergence of a roadmap for unification, continuous improvement and renewal,  transcend barriers created by different disciplines bringing the various perspectives together into a coherent whole – a new way of looking at reality.

The approach incorporates positioning, measurement, feedback and self correction – the functions of the compass, clock and the feedback system which enables the traveller to be on course.

Getting started

I have a new DP, dialogue partner.

He is new to Bangalore and spent quite a long time reaching me and the opening sentence when he met me was

I have a problem with my GPS

Thank god you know that you have a problem with your GPS. Most people think they don’t have a problem with their GPS

What do you mean?

What is the first thing that we need to know if we want to reach my destination?

As usual we get a wide set of answers except THE FIRST which is where am I now.

So where are we now?

We may have to ask more questions before we come to the answer to that question?

When were you born?


That was the birth of your body. You didn’t have anything much to do with it and you are much more than the physical.

Or is it that I am yet to be born?

WE, the community self is yet to be born ?

Birth of self and community self

Birth of selfWe were not born when we were born since physical birth is not synonymous with birth of self.

The Community Self is yet to be born.

The system at birth is comparable to the bullet that leaves the barrel of a gun. The bullet is helpless to influence its trajectory. Most systems do not go beyond this level though the duration could be much longer.

Self regulation is the differentiator to qualify to be a higher level system, evolving to become aware of the position, direction and regulating itself to influence the outcome, creating a more desirable future.

The key words are birth of self, position, direction,reflection and self-regulation

Another question- what are our basic needs?

Are they the physiological?  – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; food, shelter, clothing , reproduction, social, self actualisation and so on. We will revisit Maslow some time later .

For those who commit suicide, life is no more meaningful, not worth the trouble.

If so the most basic need must be the need for MEANING.  If life is meaningful, then food has meaning – to keep the body and soul together

Soul is the unifying principle that, which connects, the glue, gives meaning, spirit. We have’nt really started. We are already getting mired in the  semantic swamp.

The semantic swamp contributes to global warming, cutting down more trees and creates more intellectual poverty rights.

Symbols make it easier than all the text and discourses.

The philosophy and the maths are very simple – the new maths

New or the very old, I don’t know

0, 1, 2, 3, ∏


0 = nothing

1 = everything

2 = duality, the linear, static, partial truth

3 = connecting, the linear is transformed

∏ = synergy, whole > the sum of parts, dynamic, continual, real time, unending, quality of being connected, centre and the periphery

When the setting is right, the intent is expressed, the seed turns into the tree, caterpillar to the butterfly and the bullet becomes aware of its self, takes birth to eternity.

The journey begins here, that of transformation. “Well-nigh two thousand years and not a single new god”- Nietzsche.

We see the light at the end of the tunnel and walk out of the dark hole, the prison that we built for our SELVES

Oneness is the quality of the whole – the child in the womb is one with the mother and at birth is confronted by the separation, a perceived duality which is the quality of two, a linear world of many, day and night, good or bad, true or false, yes or no – the domain of problems.  The prodigal son revolts, eventually reconciles. The self evolves to resolve the contradictions, duality and recognise the connectedness – oneness. Not a return in the sense of going back since the self has moved to a higher level in terms of growth and maturity from the level of yes or no, true or false to the level of yes and no, true and false , good and bad.

This is the quality of three – trinity, the third position from which agreement, improvement and solutions are possible. The shift from the static and linear to the dynamic happens.

Intelligent choices and conscious evolution follow.

So where are we now ?

Other Less FAQs

Which is true north, the direction for the journey ?

How do WE make sure that WE are on the path?

Do we have a map of everyTHING to make it easier and foolproof?

The Map of Everything

The First Discipline Framework is a map to attenuate variety, reduce the babble among disciplines to facilitate positioning, fixing direction and self-correction for the process of continual renewal and improvement at different levels – individual, institutions, communities and community.

The map makes it possible to hang our different hats as practitioners of various disciplines, ‘social programmers’ – parents, pedagogues, priests, and politicians connecting the various disciplines and put them in perspective, SEE and SHOW (the visual has the highest bandwidth) how everything, living, nonliving, internal and external- is ONE, a continuum, in process and evolving.

The framework helps the observer self, to connect with the observed SELF, position, visualise the gap between potential and performance, fix the direction for the journey and make sure that we are on the path of continuous improvement/renewal.

Metrics, measurement, of true progress becomes possible.

The map has four quadrants and the observer is at the centre. The observer could be the individual, a group, an organisation or the species.

NW  is a map of the ideal, the deep structure, the conceptual, pure potential, design and the world of ideas .The order, hierarchy, increasing complexity and potential with each level, alignment and connectedness need be re- ‘cognised to understand the performance issues in the external world mapped in the bottom right quadrant, SE.

The four quadrants are like the four wheels of the car, a learning engine which continues to improve its performance as it goes forward

The eye at the centre represents self, the observer, and the driver of the car

The wheels must be aligned for the car to move on

But there exists a conflict between quadrants NW and SE, ideal and the operational

Between internal self and the external social system, quadrants SW and NE

It is for us to create the alignment so that the car moves on

First step is to see the interconnections and see the whole as one system in process, evolving

What makes the human unique as a class of systems is the potential to improve. There is ‘no’ gap between potential and performance up to the level of animals (see quadrant SW)

The gap begins after the level of animals. The gap can also be seen as the waste in the system, the unrealised potential, the root cause for problems. In terms of potential vs. performance the human is sub animal

Corresponding to the total potential/performance gap, there exists a gap in every one of us which forms the personal sphere for improvement which would lead to the question – what is my potential and my performance?

Quadrant NW represents the ideal, perfect, conceptual, pure potential, internal to the self and in perfect alignment at all levels starting from the maps to Meta systems (represented by the umbrella).  Quadrant SE represents the physical world, measurement, performance. Mirrors NW up to the level of animals. The knowledge gap is the major reason for the gap. There will always be a gap but it is feasible to narrow the gap and bring about sustained and continual improvements

Quadrant SW is internal to the self and NE represents the external social system. While learning is a pre-requisite to improvement, history and habits encourage conformity. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. Self could be the individual, team, organisational or community self. Complexity increases with levels

The map facilitates positioning, fixing the direction for the journey and measurement of progress.  It is possible to visualise the nature of the journey as an ongoing process of continual improvement and renewal. The first step is having a map for the journey. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius. To take that first step we need to know where our position is and the direction in which to take that step, to be on course.

The potential performance gap is illustrated by life expectancy vs. longevity of exceptional people. Life expectancy in developed countries is around 75 which is an indication of performance. Potential is reflected in the exceptions, people living beyond their 100. The gap or the waste in terms of unrealised potential is 25 years, though life expectancy is not the only aspect to be taken into account. There are exceptions who achieve much more than average people with shorter life spans and those who continue to be much more productive in their second careers than in their first.

We need to visualise human potential if we are to realise it.  On a global scale the aggregate waste is astounding. The estimation has to be on multiple factors to illustrate the issue better. A corporate would attempt to look at the issue from many different perspectives, in terms of market potential vs. performance or the human potential vs. performance. The same could be attempted at different levels- individuals, institutions, communities, nations, global

Metaphoria of Transformation

“Connecting with Consumers Using Deep Metaphors.

Famous brands have an emotional meaning that taps into thoughts and feelings related to the positive aspects of transformation, according to Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman, authors of  Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers (HBS Press 2008). Transformation is just one metaphor that finds expression in products that satisfy deeply held consumer needs and desires. Other metaphors they notice include balance, journey, and connection”. Martha Lagace,  http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5871.html

To learn is to connect.  To connect is to solve a problem, recognize or see the pattern and in the process the solution emerges. The learning resultant from problem solving, accumulated knowledge, catalyzes development and growth.

Some learning is possible only through parables or stories.  Stories synchronise brains. The story outlines that follow can be used to develop the connecting, catalyzing and reflecting skills. A story acts like a map, a metaphor and can be used to connect the internal and external territories to unearth something that people already know at deeper levels.

E.g. connectivity and the structure of silicates, maps and meta maps, programs and meta programs, competencies and meta competencies, archetypes and design

More metaphors

1. Story of One , Differently Abled Child and the Teacher

2.Mental maps – Eagle’s gift

Thinking about what we can’t think about

The eagle nests on the tallest tree

The tree is by the side of a very deep well

In the well is a community of frogs. The well is so deep that the frogs have never been out of the well.

As the sun sets and the darkness rushes into the well, the little ones in the community crowd around the nanny frog pestering her for stories.  May be she will repeat one of those stories, yet it is still very comforting at the time when the shades of grey drives out th world of light darkness takes over.

Darkness is yet to take over the tree tops. It is very rare that it happens, once in a while when the sky is completely clouded and stars are invisible.

At times the eagle listens to the familiar stories. Over the years of its immortal life, it has heard them many times over, many versions of the same stories over many generations. There is nothing new about the stories other than it is almost a ritual that disturbs it in some way.

It is another day

The thermals are forming. The eagle is waiting for the thermals to gather force.  It is quite strong now.

The eagle swoops down into the well, grabs the nanny frog with its claws and rise up from the well into the sky assisted by the thermal moving up at a frightening pace.

The heights and the fear of death overtakes the frog. It shuts it’s eyes tight and wait for the inevitable.

The eagle has reached the heights and hovers there circling in the sky. It goes round and round for a long long time. It senses that the frog has quieted down and has opened its eyes. The thermal is waning. It gently floats down once again into the well and gently leaves the frog from where it has been taken for a ride.

On the return journey the frog had just a glimpse of the larger world outside the well.

The eagle goes back to the tree and waits for the sun to set waiting for the story of the day.

What will be the story of the day?

The participants are to write down a story and the trainer gives the feedback based on participants’ stories. Switch the roles of Eagles and trainers so that trainers don’t come to assume that they are the eagles. One has to be an eagle and at times a frog depending on the context.

The human condition is like that of the frog in the well. The mental maps are influenced by the ‘well’ we live in. They are improved with every bit of learning. The developmental process involves revision and improvement of the mental models or maps. Facilitators play a very critical role and to fulfil these roles they need to have the necessary competencies.

3. The Chandrasekhar Effect.

Chandrasekhar is a very saintly soul who has a weakness for     liquor.  One morning we found him in front of his regular hangout. Chandrasekhar was relieved to meet some familiar faces. He came out with a question which he wanted to ask somebody who is familiar. Even at this stage he was aware that his condition might make him ask stupid questions and he did not want to be humiliated.  The question was “Where am I?” We take the most fundamental for granted which takes us farther away from reality. When our basic assumptions, the home position, are wrong it is certain that we will reach some place where we never wanted to be. Any process of improvement calls for fixing a starting position, deciding on the direction and reflecting/review with reference to the starting position. A large number of people were asked this question as to what our basic needs are and the first reply is always the text book answer, “food, shelter, and clothing”. But for the person who has decided that life itself is meaningless none of these matter. If they are asked to respond to a question like “How many sides the coin has?” the answer is always the same – two, though with a little bit of clarification they will soon shift their original positions.   One of the obstacles, as old as history and symbolized in the story of Babel, to reaching a solution to the issue is the semantic confusion and that there is very little convergence between the domains that have the potential to offer solutions.

4. Blind men and the elephant

5. Don’t shoot the messenger

6. Mahabali and Vamana

7. Taj Mahal / cathedral Building

Emperor Shajahan asked the same question to the three stonecutters.  “What are you doing?”

The three answers are:

“I am earning a living”,

“I am polishing stones, and I am the best stonecutter available”

“I am building a monument which is an expression of the love of the emperor to his beloved and this stone that I am polishing will be the corner stone of the monument”

It is obvious that the third mason is more likely to meet the standards for quality and quantity and that if all the three are to meet these and other standards – of effectiveness, excellence and zero defects – the third mason’s vision is to be shared. When we work more and more with intangibles and the slave driver is replaced by one’s own self this becomes all the more difficult but essential to keep the network as one, connected.

9. Indra and the pigs – Resistance to change.

Indraonce transformed himself into a pig just to find out why   pigs enjoyed wallowing in the mud. He remained there till Narada searched him out and compelled him to go back to his former self.  It is quite possible that we get stuck with poor performance and come to accept that this as the limit of our possibilities till a compelling experience/crisis or vision might lift us out of the situation.

10.  Frog soup

A frog is placed in a bowl of cold water.  Turning on a heater     gently warms the water.  The frog initially enjoys the warmth and feels comfortable.  The increase in warmth is so gentle that the frog does not notice it.  The warmth gradually increases; the frog falls into a stupor and eventually turns into frog soup. The opposite possibility is that of continual renewal, to respond creatively to the process on a real time basis.

The story is quoted in two of the popular books on management, The Renewal Factor (Waterman) and The Fifth Discipline (Peter M Senge).  The frog in the cold water initially enjoys the increasing warmth of water in which it is immersed and by the time it is unbearable it is immobilized and incapable of escape from death.  The process of continual renewal is the opposite of this whereby individuals, institutions or a community continually respond to the environment and improve their contexts.  The process is qualitatively different and most often ignored in the preoccupation with the short term.  U.S. companies now lose half their employees every four years, half their customers in five, and half their investors in less than twelve months[ii]. The returns on investment, yield rate of stocks, market capitalisation   or increase in value of ESOP by themselves are not sufficient measures of success.  Corporates need to be concerned about the internal as well as the broader external community also, other than the shareholders and the targeted market segments.

11.  The Cannon Shot/The Two Roads

The road by design and by default

The two roads, one by design and the other by default and the  moment of truth.

What we believe as maturity, normal, is a HABIT, history, the roadblock.

The system at physical birth is comparable to the bullet that leaves the barrel of a gun.

The bullet is helpless to influence its trajectory.

Most systems, individuals or institutions seldom go beyond this level without that choice, a conscious decision to evolve, becoming aware of the position, direction and reflecting on the progress.

When it happens the bullet goes into orbit.

The linear is the road by default, the road to death, accidents, burnout and the road on which time runs out.

The other is the road to eternity, continual renewal and timelessness by CHOICE, the conscious decision to be on the road to continual IMPROVEMENTs, creating the future NOW, by DESIGN,  a future better than the present.

The cannon shot does not have the potential to become aware of it’s self. Individuals and organizations have the unique capability of self-observation and self regulation which implies the possibility of improvement.   This is what qualifies us to be termed human. The cannon shot that goes out of the cannon has no possibility of becoming aware of itself and the outcome is already determined at the moment of its departure from the cannon.  But the more advanced of human creations like those of sophisticated machines do have more and more of self-regulation built into them.  Thus in the case of space vehicles and satellites, extent of self-regulation and the possibility of controlling the behavior of the system from outside the system increases.  The extent of self-regulation, the possibility of reflecting on one’s behavior and even laugh at it, is what draws us apart as a class, from the rest of the systems.  In the case of the cannon shot gravity operates mercilessly and ultimately the shot is overtaken by it when the shot reaches terra firma.  In the case of individuals and organizations, it is the vision that keeps them going.  The vision is liable to be corrupted and needs to be renewed continuously.  Just as gravity operates continuously, the forces of decay too is natural to all systems.  In nature decay and renewal are continuous and it follows that for organizations to sustain growth, the effort at renewal too needs to be continuous’.

12. Ashram and the prophets– Leadership, Creating and Renewing Vision and Shared Values.

There is an ashram in which four sanyasins struggle to make both ends meet. There has been a golden time for the ashram when crowds used to flock together to the ashram but now the ashram has fallen on bad times with no visitors and no income.  One of the sanyasins hit upon the idea of visiting another sanyasin in a distant place to seek help.  They set out on the journey together, meet the sanyasin and present the problem. The sanyasin sends them back with just one piece of advice – One of you is a prophet. The sanyasins are not able to find out who   the prophet is but over time the ashram renews itself and recovers the lost glory.   ”.

13.  First monkey – Creative communities

There live a community of monkeys in an island. They had never eaten the nuts of a particular tree.   A curious little monkey picked up one of these nuts, dips it in seawater and eats it.  It finds that the nut is very delicious.  Rest of the monkeys slowly follows the little monkey one by one. Eventually the nut becomes a common meal for all the monkeys and when a critical number of monkeys pick up this habit, the behavior spreads all throughout in no time, all over the world. The group soon emulates the behavior of the first monkey.  When the group size crosses a certain critical mass, the new behavior is manifested globally without any apparent interconnections.  Something, which was beyond the realm of possibility, has now become possible and collective learning results. The phenomenon is observed in many other situations also.  Fostering individual creativity within the organizational community is integral to continual renewal.  Besides, the context now offers the possibility of creative individuals to make much larger global impact.  The typical examples are the emergence and growth of startup IT ventures during the last two decades.

14. The Imperial Chill – Daniel Quinn

15. Sheet of Rubber and the Football – Centralization and decentralization, Yes and No, Static / Dynamic

16. Caterpillar and the Butterfly, Seed to Tree, Cream to Butter, Ahalya, Pygmalion and Galatea , Rama and Ahalya

17. Less is more

18.  Complex vs simple




256×256= ?

19. Blindness, Seeing, Jose Saramago

20. Magister Ludi, Herman Hesse

21. Time

Mastery of time involves going beyond the ordinary or common to the transcendental experience of time. The common understanding is very essential to deal with the day to day world but this is never the complete story. It is only a partial truth (illusion). Time /timelessness is another duality, gate, to learning the direct (mystic) experience, freeing one from the entanglement of a linear experience of time.There is nothing linear about nature. Linear time kills in many ways. Timelessness, eternity, is a common experience if one reflects over those experiences when time stood still, while you were in love vs. waiting for a P breakts

22. Timelessness/Real time

Real time

What black is to white is time to timelessness, as memory is to forgetting

Linear time meets memory at ground zero

To beget the NEW

As the eagle soars up in the sky details get blurred

But the essential is not lost

It swoops down faster to the goal.

Knows when to strike and when to sail

To switch between time and timelessness

What to gather and to leave behind

Complete the learning so as to forget

Learn history so that history is not repeated

Both personal and collective, for the flow of life to go on

Bury the dead so that renewal rules, not death and decay

Free the ground for the dance of eternity – timelessness

23. Habit/New habits

New habits

Transcend habits by more powerful habits.

Habit is history that keeps us stuck. Even death is a habit  and fear of death is the mother of all fears which drives many businesses. Resistance creates resistance. If the child wants to touch fire we can tell her don’t do it – a sure fire way of achieving what we never wanted. Instead show her the butterfly. Her attention is shifted to something beautiful. Big time improvement strategists play the latter game. They don’t preach change. They play the game of radical improvement through which people come together as one, in relationships, internal and external alignment, creating history. In the process we move forward, get unstuck. Everyone wins and none loses.

Amor is the Roman god of love. The root from Sanskrit ‘amar’ means immortal and ‘amrut’ is that which makes one immortal – knowledge. Work is love expressed – Kahlil Gibran. The path to immortality, exceptional performance, is possible only through transformation of work as expression of the self, an expression of love

24. The Light House Position. What is your call?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not an act but a habit – Aristotle

Juggling with P’s – The Picture of Philosophy

Further :

The Cloud Community College

Eagle’s gift

Continual learning is the path to continual renewal.

Nature is in a process of continual renewal but for the ecological footprints left by our interventions. It takes more than a year for nature to renew what we consume in a year and some damages are irreparable.

Learning improves our mental models. The frog in the well forms a model of the world. The eagle on the tree has a different model. When the frog is taken out by the eagle and brought back into the well these two merge together to form a map of the world. The world has not changed but the models of the world have changed. We had a flat earth model in the not too distant past. With better technology and tools these models have given way to maps with increasing precision. Though maps of the physical world have become more precise the mental models that went with them are not easily discarded.

The eagle represents the big picture and frog, the details. Both are connected just as the Hubble telescope sends us pictures from outer space and the femtoscope helps us see the smallest of the small.

The eagle represents the global and frog the local which are but different perspectives of the whole. Thus being GLOCAL – is an imperative.  So is the imperative of continual learning, leading to continual renewal. We are frogs in the well of nature

A brief history of learning/ renewal

Real work is the expression of a mature self

As a Dairy Technologist, I used to watch the huge butter churns in motion, waiting for that magical moment when the cream breaks out into globules of butter. This was my first project at work- to find a solution to mountains of cream that had accumulated over the previous surplus season. In the long hours that i worked towards reducing the bulk, I was forced to fight the boredom, visualising the mythical churning of the sea of milk by the Devas and Asuras to make amrit, the stuff that makes one immortal – knowledge.

Later on I had the privilege of observing a very sedentary ascetic centenarian for the last twenty five years of his pursuit of learning which had started at the age of nine. At 60 he had made it known that he had another 40 years of work left to complete. He completed his 40 years and went on for another six months and 15 days.

In developed nations the fastest growing segment of the population is centenarians.

While most “successful’ people in the ‘modern world’ (read top of the pyramid – sic) contribute in real terms for 15/20 years of their life span of around 75,  what goes into the making of the rare centenarian who remains productive many times  over ? If the product is in the process, what makes this process so rewarding in itself which keeps them relatively less mortal physically and immortal in the world of knowledge. Why are we not able to go beyond them as a community?

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.  – Max Planck (1858-1947)

Imagine the churning that preceded the above statement!

Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543)

Proof: Galileo, (1564-1642) Strategy: Patience, non- action, out-wait competition

Ever wondered about the history of churning and the consequences?

We have a secret dread of being thought ignorant. And we end by being ignorant after all, only we have done it in a long and roundabout way. (From the short story – Once there was a King) Rabindranath Tagore, 1839-1941. The Parrots Tale develops this in much greater detail. Viswabharati, the university he set up, was the solution that he came up with for the problem.

There are only two ways to live: Either without thinking of death… or with the thought that you approach death with every hour of your life.  – -Leo Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910

There is a third way, the path of regeneration, living with birth/death, NOW, in real time, the path taken by the high performing centenarians and the path open to the next generation who would go far beyond them. Most of us live in linear time. Living in real time is living in eternity.

Tolstoy  was a prophets’ prophet, a link in the long chain from Buddha, Asoka the great and Christ who greatly influenced two of the heroes of our time and kept alive the idea of non-violence and non – action, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi   (1869 –  1948) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968).

Why did most champions of non-violence, have to  die violent death?

Tolstoy’s thoughts on How to live: (He appears to have founded the human potential movement much ahead of the new age messiahs of the movement)

  • The more upset you are with other people and circumstances, and the more satisfied you are with yourself, the further you are from wisdom.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Compare yourself only with perfection.
  • It is not the place we occupy that is important, but the direction in which we move.
  • When you want to escape from rage, do not walk, do not move, and do not speak. Your rage cannot be justified by anything. The reason for your rage is always inside you.
  • Speak only when your words are better than silence. For every time you regret that you did not say something, you will regret a hundred times that you did not keep your silence.
  • There are two ways not to suffer from poverty. The first is to acquire more wealth. The second is to limit your requirements. The first is not always in our power. The second is.
  • You do not have the right to be unhappy with your life. If you are not satisfied, see this as a reason to be unsatisfied with yourself.
  • The more strictly and mercilessly you judge yourself, the more just and kind you will be in the judgment of others.
  • Strive for goodness without any expectations for rapid or noticeable success. For the further you progress, the higher your ideal of perfection will rise. Yet it is the process itself, this striving, that justifies our lives.
  • Nobody knows where the human race is going. The highest wisdom, then, is to know where you are going.
  • The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.
  • There can be only one permanent revolution – a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.

He died on his way to become a wandering ascetic. Imagine the churning.

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky,  1821- 1882 turned out to be more prophetic than Tolstoy –  Raskolnikov, the hero of Crime and Punishment  is the template for our current role models  who have perfected the art of committing the perfect crime and earn  their place in history as saviours of the world.

The product is in the process.

The seats of learning/ churning/clashes and the interplay of history, knowledge, power, religion, politics and culture

Taxila   6th century BCE to the 5th century CE

Nālandā  (427 to 1197 CE)

The Imperial Nanjing Institute, China, founded in 258, has perhaps the longest unbroken tradition

Budha , Christ, Ashoka 304 BCE – 232 BCE ,  all belong to this period.

Taxila was burnt to ashes in 1197. The fire went on for weeks.

Prophet Muhammad, 570   – 632

The University of Al-Karaouine, Morocco was founded in 859 by two well educated wealthy sisters. Played   a leading role in the cultural and academic relations between the Islamic world and Europe in the middle ages,

University of Bologna, Italy, 1150. The term university was coined at the founding of this seat of learning.  The University of Paris was founded even earlier, was split into 13 universities in 1970.

1167    University of Oxford, UK.  Exact date uncertain, teaching existed in some form since 1096

1209 University of Cambridge, UK

1440 the Printing Press

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

Harvard University, 1636

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883), John Maynard Keynes, (1883- 1946)

W. Edwards Deming, (1900 – 1993), Peter Ferdinand Drucker, (1909-2005)

Drucker had personal experience of the Nazi regime, probably would have listened to Sigmund Freud as a child, and was a student of Keynes and Schumpeter. He foresaw the possibilities of the modern corporation and continuously reinvented himself. One might conclude that he also foresaw the need for a new paradigm of management with the focus on the self, managing oneself, for which he himself would remain, one of the best models.

Drucker started the study of General Motors in 1945, leading to the publication of the Concept of the Corporation and began his career as a consultant, teacher and writer. He remained at the forefront of the discipline he founded for half a century.

Deming started from where Drucker left off towards the end of his career. Had Deming been accepted in his home country as much as Drucker in his country of adoption, perhaps we wouldn’t have been in our current crisis. The prophet is seldom respected at home. One could argue that Japan had the cultural pre-requisites to accept Deming and the US ultimately had to give in reluctantly to the competition. Drucker could not save the corporation/s whereas Deming left a legacy which forms the foundation to the discipline that Drucker is said to have founded.

The Web. 1992. The parrot leaves the cage, the seats of learning move to the clouds. The internet has dematerialised learning from the seats of learning. Technology has become real time but people have not moved to real time. . We need new paradigms to bridge the gaps and transcend the learning plateaus in our journey of continual renewal and improvement

> a  new discipline and pedagogy > the first discipline>the discipline of sustained high performance

1. Context

The BRIC is broken

The tail wags the head

WMD – Destruction or Dialogue?

War on terror/ talent – WFT, Dream merchants and the revenge of the underdogs

Recession, Booms and Busts, the long cycles and the bubbles in between,

Is there a future?  The rise or fall of India, Indian = Global

The climate /energy crisis, water /food security and sustainability

Finance capital > Human Capital > Community Capital > Eco-system Management > Developmental Management > Rethinking Development

Reinventing the discipline of Management

2. Management Overview

Missing the wood for the trees – What we failed to see, Marketing Myopia, Theodor Levitt

Peter Drucker. The Bystander> End of economic man > to Managing Oneself

Beyond Competitive advantage

3 . First Discipline, SHPC :  A Map to the Future and the Road ahead

  • 1. Continual Renewal >  Regeneration Therapy
  • 2. Personal mastery and LLL, Life Long learning, learning plateaus
  • 3. System/s Thinking
  • 4. Accelerated Learning and Mental Maps, KM
  • 5. Positioning yourself, your business for SHP
  • 6. Community Intelligence
  • 7. The Singularity Perspective- the map of all maps

4 The Practice of First Discipline.

The tool kit – a backpack for the road

Dialogue and Storytelling

Analytics and Gap Analysis

Aligning with the Deep Structure

Conscious Dreaming,

Participative Action Learning, Research and Real Time Management Development

Sustained High Performance – Growth by Design

5.  Custodians of the Future

The Blue ocean people

Milk is white

God’s own country, Devils too – Between the devil and the deep-sea

The Eco-system people, fishermen/ tribal communities

The Fusion fuel and the Energy Challenge

6.Creating the future by design

Rethinking CSR, Wealth and Charity

7.  Strategy.

Animating the Learning Engine, Maintaining the LE for SHP


Context: First Discipline?

The global failure of management as a discipline- Enron to Lehman brothers, recession, failure of IT , bubbles, poverty and conflicts. Thought leaders –  Peter Drucker over the years –  In spite of all the hype management in the west also has failed to deliver against the global context

Local failures: Failure to connect to the developmental management issues of India

Failure to define what is Indian (global) about management

Failure to attract management to governance and development

Academic work in India has failed to make a global impact

A dialogue between an academic and a development  practitioner

The  collapse of governance

The disillusionment with managers and academics, failure of leadership/intellectualism

The majority are left to fend for themselves –


One man can make a difference

IT was entrepreneurial /technological/ learning breakthrough and not a product of management thought

Competencies of the new manager- Development practitioner?

The blogs explore these issues through dialogue


. Birth of the professional manager: the ethical /competency /community imperatives

Peter Drucker vs Amartya Sen

Stafford Beer vs. Peter M Senge

Prahlad vs  Porter

Chris Argyris vs. Maslow – End of Organisation man ?

Deming  vs. Drucker

Aurobindo  vs. Ken Wilbur

Management Development , Nurturing the new managers

Action learning – Reginald Revans

Schumacher vs Schumpeter


Sustained High Performance by Design

Facts, fiction and metaphor

Are we guided by facts or fiction?

We are guided less by facts and more by myth, fiction and fantasy.

9/11 is a fact, not illusion, so are the war 1, war, 2 and the war 3 now going on. We have democratized wars and conflicts, flattened it (The world is flat- Friedman) dispersed them all over the planet.

Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, AIG, the pharaohs of financial pyramids walk away leaving their accumulated follies on to the public. When the same happens to the farmers the escape route is suicide for many

Facts do not take hold of our minds as myth, fantasy and fiction do. The superman, batman, hunks, WWF, larger than life heroes/heroines, science fiction, the star wars and particle accelerators are attempts at creating modern myths. We need more and more potent amnesiacs, analgesics and anti-BIOTICS – substitutes to do away with the grim reality of life. Older myths still survive and we continue to be driven more and more by shadows and myths. We wish to forget facts or sweep them under the carpet. In India, we have an ancient text by name Bavishya Puranam. Bhavisya means future and puranam is an old epic story. I hope you see the twist. It is time for us to rely on myths to create a more desirable future. This is why we are compelled to talk in metaphors, since we are in a process of creating something which does not exist .

As technological bandwidth and connectivity increase, human bandwidth and connectivity decrease. I see this all around me, with my own children demanding more and more bandwidth and becoming less and less concerned about broader issues. I have begun to suspect that their jobs are creating an occupational hazard to them and the society at large. The higher incidence of suicides in Bangalore, to me, is a bandwidth problem of the latter kind. So is the terrorist issue. The first step to the making of a terrorist is to narrow his bandwidth. The multitude of disciplines and the silos they create offers the best setting for the narrow bandwidths which in turn chokes the channels creating more noise than communication. We need a Meta discipline, the first discipline, which connects the scientists, priests and the artist to transcend these barriers to communication and community since all the three are in the same business – that of explaining reality to lesser mortals like us. The knowledge hole is more serous than the ozone hole.

The bandwidth problem is not exclusive to the younger generation. Institutions too pass through the process. The midlife crisis of the CEO is passed on to the organization he heads, that of the politician to the country and of the Guru to the disciples

I met Jo on the beach, in my time with the fishermen. We continue to meet on the beach, less frequently, since he has moved to another shore. He is a PhD in his area of expertise but you would not get these thoughts anywhere in his work or even in the class rooms when he teaches. There is a risk attached with a wide bandwidth. One could be ‘excommunicated’. He believes in many births/many lifetimes. He still has hopes of pulling me over to his position on birth and rebirth. I am tempted to do so when confounded by the recollection of childhood memories in our workshops. I am afraid that after the age of five there is a kind of growing down in the process of socialization. Much later one could reconnect with these memories and grow up. I am yet to make up my mind whether to join his school or not but I have gained a lot from his arguments

Here is a brief on our many sessions on the beach over many years, since 1985

He would watch the waves beating on the shore and would talk about the waves in the production of bio-mass in the sea and the consequent rise and fall in fish production, what it does to fishing, corresponding waves in farmers’ produce on the land, the waves in life, business, and markets. He taught me to see things as waves and cycles. He foresaw the present crisis in financial markets and the coming economic slowdown, the big crunch in demand driven by the inability to connect to the voice of the masses across the planet.He has a pet theory on why Jesus recruited Peter as his CEO against our current paradigms of selection, recruitment, training and development. He challenged my B-school education. “If you have any competencies that you claim to have, go to the bottom of the pyramids and prove it rather than skimming the cream and stamping them with Ivy League labels”. Christ made the choice since Peter would fit the bill in terms of his mental maps that go with a fisherman.

So next time you go head hunting check their mental maps!

He stripped me of my notions of an internal flatland which he told me is the inheritance of all land based humans, since the beginning of settled agriculture, some 10,000 years in the past. Prior to that, the fishermen and the people on the land had the same worldview. Both were hunting and gathering. He was born in a fisher family, used to go fishing with his father as a child, an outsider to the flatland, having lived on the coast and the sea for generations. A good fisherman has a different worldview closer to reality than the humans on land. He is pushed to the brink much more than the farmers. He produces much more than the farmer yet he is poorer. He is seldom driven to suicide and the spirit of community is more alive in the ecosystem people who survive on common property resources

He is the one who introduced me to the concept of digital, analogue bandwidths and the other bandwidth, of expectancies in human communication and how the net result has not been any better. He has a very wide bandwidth which you would know only at a personal level. He would go on how water is recycled on the planet, how everything is in a cycle or process, that there is nothing linear or ‘straightforward’ about nature and then take the quantum leap to conclude that we too pass through a higher order version of the process. If we want we can break out of that giant wheel of births and rebirths

He challenged me with some insights from his many life times

Of the time he was in Egypt and Joseph’s dream of the good years and bad years. How the natural cycles in primary production would hurt the farmers and how famines would result unless the state steps in to lend a helping hand when the cycles turn against the farmer and why left to themselves, markets will fail the farmers. More so in the case of fishermen who have no property rights other than common property and open access to resources.

Of the time he was in Jerusalem and how Jesus had been reinvented over centuries to suit the bandwidth requirements of different times. Low bandwidth of practitioners leads to creation of silos and pyramids in disciplines which kills community and would conclude with a sigh. “It is all about bandwidth, of people, technology and the interface”

The Process – Enhancing bandwidth

I was playing a game with 57 MBA students for two days. It went on from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM on day 1 and from 9.00 AM to 6 .15 PM on day 2

Prior to the game, I talked to a local politician to understand the business he is in, that of development of the locality

I also talked to their professor to get some insights about these young men and women who are in the business of becoming businessmen

The game commenced with an assessment of their present position, globally and locally, in the context of the global meltdown and the situation of the locality

Both the politician and the professor were exceptional people who will not fit in with our perceptions of the run of the mill in this category

Then the game with the students began, simulating an organization working together as a community for two days and an open selection process of identifying a group who would be offered premium placements   on the basis of their mental maps. Then I checked their mental maps on many issues.

All of them had a map as shown in figure 1 deeply ingrained in them, the code for failure – BOOMS AND BUSTS. They will with those maps will build their towers of babylon and will be wall street smart.

Mental maps

Fig. 1 is about birth maturity and death. Fig 2 shows the shift to a dynamic one of continual improvement and renewal. Is such a shift possible?

The first set never goes beyond the level of a clock or a bullet leaving the barrel of the gun. The difference is only in the duration, time.  The potential to self-regulate or the potential to transform to a learning engine, a sustained high performance system, is not expressed. The claim to culture, civilization, evolution, improvements are but empty boasts

Why so?

Columbus reached America. He never wanted to go there.  We too are as good as our maps.

Can we have a better set of maps? I told them of the Eagle’s gift

Between before and after, it is not the world that has changed but the map of the world. This is all that we can do and that is good enough.

The problem is not with the world but our maps of the world

We did quite a few other things, more stories, team learning, dialogues, Buddha’s smile, discussed the First Discipline Framework

They presented their understanding of the framework, told me of their dreams on the morning of the second day. They were surprised to look at their own process. All of them came up with evidence and data about the shifts, each contributing to the community learning process

We can indeed observe ourselves 24/7, the first step to continual improvement.

We positioned ourselves, fixed the direction for the journey and reflected over our improvements during the process. The shared space expanded as we moved along with the work.  The map for a learning community was crafted and the process is on.

Simulating High Performance – Defying gravity

The Business Strategy Simulation: New University, Udayagiri, TN. Number of participants – 61 including the three facilitators. The System of Profound Knowledge, (Deming) helps us to see how complex organisations work.   Organisations   guided by SPK will be more effective and successful. We demonstrate this using the First Discipline Framework. We tell stories, about 15 of them. Every community need to tell its own stories and recreate old stories. We reflect every now and then and the participants develop the game. Harvard agrees with what we have been doing for twenty years. http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6119.html

The Simulation

  • How do we fix the true north (the true point)
  • The business, transformation of the crowd to a sustained high performance community
  • Choose the CEO , prescribe a process, Position him so that he positions the community and make sure that the community is on a path of continuous improvement – sustained high performance
  • The CEO selects a custodian of maps, CTO, Facilities Manager, other additional positions as required
  • Selection of VPs Marketing, HR , Finance, Learning and Development , timelines
  • Position them in the appropriate quadrant by consensus of the group
  • The CEO fixes the true north , describes his compass function
  • The VP marketing outlines the market potential, BDP and personnel requirements / product/market mix, pricing, targets
  • VP HR – translates the business plan and organize the human component
  • VP Fin – the controller of weights and measures – Metrics
  • VP L&D – his/her business is that we learn continuously
  • Other roles: Regulators/industry associations/venture capitalists , external public

In the mornings we recollect our dreams to check whether our unconscious is aligned with our conscious. The process goes on for six days from the beginning to the 12th evening. Everyone worked on their own during the two holidays in between and continued to add value.  We climbed peaks and took glimpses of the blue ocean space and at times fell down to the valleys like humpty dumpty but managed to gather ourselves together and continue on the journey.

The game continues… but we are back to our respective places of work. Are we back to the same place? Certainly not, we have moved ahead towards true north, 61 of us … a learning community.

The journey/process is on. We plan to meet again

Reflections – The dream catcher

Dreacm catcher, male 34 years, shares some of his dreams and experiences with synchronicity

Shadows Play

There should have been 3 or 4 pillars, and strings connecting consecutive pillars towards the pillar bottoms. Over this string, shadows move as if on a rail. It’s like a shadow play using three windows. I am just able to make out the shadow of a horse, a camel and an elephant while it slides from first pillar to the next.

And while it slides in the next window, between the next two pillars, the three shadows are out of focus and zoomed in so big that I cannot make out the figures. But while they slide slowly in the last window the figures are very clear and sharp.


I am inside a maximum security prison in a small house but I come out of that house. I have mastered how to unlock all the locks and doors. No prison can hold me anymore. Now happy and enlightened, I am out and I provoke my mother: “Mummy, tell me to go back in and I will be out in a jiffy”. Afraid that she will not see me again, she persuades me to stop playing games.
But now I love to play it. So I jump back into the prison in the house through an opening on the roof and quickly pick the first prison door with some splinter. The next door lock is trickier, this requires some lateral thinking and so I tilt my head (:-)) to solve and break open the door. The third lock is purely at some higher level.  I focus and recite something and I am out again!

Free and Happy!


Something has attacked the city and was killing off the inhabitants…like an epidemic or genocide. I was busy escaping off when ‘movie’ of the dream is re-wound to the point where I am in a multiplex just before the cataclysm. I see a sweet looking toddler at the ticket counter and my train of thoughts goes this way:

Why don’t I save the kid from the impending horrible death?

But if it is impending, what can I do about it? You can’t save everyone in this world?

You are wasting precious time…SAVE the kid!

Why should I change anybody’s destiny even if this was possible?

Jupiter in Action

A huge Anantha Shesha (serpent) statue is being completed. And under its shade a commanding looking Vishnu is being made. Here Vishnu is not in the reclining posture but takes the upright one.  Vishnu’s normally pleasant and peaceful face is demonic as an Asura’s (Rahu?) can be. He has a tough commanding posture as if he is about to put a whole army into action.

A lot of veneration, funding and decoration go into the  making of the statue. Gold coins are stuck all across the flooring. Photographers light up the place with their flashes.

Lost search

I am cruising on a short black tri-wheeler mo-bike through the alleys. Instead of the ordinary dials on it there is a GPS panel which indicates the path I should navigate in order to ‘locate’ a lost item. Having found something, I reach home as the vehicle brought me near.

The house has only a square hall; walls are all reddish-purple in colour. There is my mother and also others in the family and some guests whom I don’t know them. There is a mother and her daughters. Too many females in the room, I think and I feel uncomfortable. I go out and continue my search.

The vehicle moves but the panel displays that the moon is quickly covered by thick clouds and so the search cannot continue. Moreover the display goes off as the battery charge is out. So I push the bike around the house hoping that its dynamo 🙂 will trigger it on. Some of the ladies in the house asks me what am I doing while they walk around the house in the opposite direction.  I ignore them and carry on. What am I searching for??

I go back into the house. Mom asks me something about passport and identity verification. I question her back angrily  ‘WHAT??! She then clearly says that the ‘authorities’ need to see facial hair on me to prove my identity! Embarrassed.


I am at my uncle’s well kept house.  I am surprised that it is not in Kerala but in Kuwait and that too right next to the awesome Kuwait (trio) towers. The house is not very large but is well kept and furnished as a typical central governmental employee home is. I notice that the house plan is like a narrow rectangle in alignment with the neighbouring towers. The long house opposite lies over a very small rock mount.

I stand in their garden which is being well stocked with potted plants by the numerous helpers they have. While this is being done I have a look at smallest of the towers in front. I notice that this tower doesn’t look original and is smaller than I thought. I shift my head and find there is another bigger trio of towers being constructed. I shift my head again and see the original and awesomely high towers.

Both of my cousins are inside the house. The eldest tells me that he has some dental work to be done and asks me to show him my tooth fillings. I am hesitant and grind my teeth in preparation to show him, feel like I am going to blow off my teeth. While I do this he undresses and stands in front of me shamelessly and innocently as we were when we were kids. His naked body is as ugly as mine, now that he has a huge pot belly just like my grandfather.

He asks me to open my mouth and he sees the fillings, the silvery-metallic and the tooth-coloured caps.


The hotel lobby was posh and well lit. Good light brown woodwork and stainless steel. A short metro carriage runs through this place carrying executives.I am well dressed in a charcoal colour suit with matching ties and black shoes. I am fitted out to charm any crowd. But I forget where I leave my brief case and laptop. I stop the metro and tell them that I need to check for my bag in their glass bag carriage. I find all sorts of bags except mine. I doubt whether I have brought it with me to this country  at all. Mr nice guy that I am, I don’t like to keep others waiting. I let the metro move which moves quickly and almost out of site when I realize that one of my expensive shoes is missing! I must have left it in the cabin while looking for the bag and the metro has left.

Oh! God! What am I going to do now? How will I face them? I will look like a fool. I have to be ready before the meet. I don’t have spares too. I am imperfect.


I am with an Iranian friend, whom I met during the Landmark advanced course in some interesting building. While I try to climb the wall, he runs under me carrying something (treasure?)

Then we are scuba diving. Both of us hold some semi-precious studded silver pots and we are supposed to pour the blood-like liquid in the pots into a hole in the sea floor. I wonder how this can be done. I see a hole belching out some blood like liquid too. To my surprise, when I pour into the hole it sucks the contents from the pot and some  water around into it neatly like a vacuum cleaner.


I browse through Wikipedia to learn the worst commercial flight accidents ever specifically the ones that went down under the ocean and if anything went hidden or missing underwater. I see that India has the credits for the longest list of flight accidents in general. The Emperor Kanishka, the Air India flight ended s up in the Atlantic, most horrible, I note and see pieces in the dark.

A flight going down under water is just one of my nightmares. Ever since my mom composed her own bedtime story of a ‘plane going down into the deep sea’, ever since I watched a cinema trailer of such an ill-fated flight and the plight of the passengers in it.

Bored of browsing, I walk into the office lobby and notice the breaking news on TV ‘Air France flight goes missing’!

Wet and dirty

Friday, 24th Oct 2008: After some cardio-exercise, while I alight from the car for some grocery shopping my wallet drops into a muddy puddle. It was raining cats and dogs and I take some time to fish it out of the puddle. My driver’s license, visiting cards, cash, cards etc. all soaked and speckled with mud.

I get the feeling this is a ‘to be continued ‘ situation.

Saturday, 25th Oct 2008: I am in the habit of reading while in the toilet. I place the newly-purchased novel ‘The Abyssinian Proof’ very carelessly on top the geyser outlet tube.  While I stand there and think of what to do next, the book falls straight into the blue-coloured, Harpic stained waters in the commode below. My wife then ‘washes’ it with the spray, ‘disinfects’ it with Savlon 🙂 and blow dries it with the hair dryer.

I wonder, what next, probably me?

Monday, 27th October 2008: We get in on a coracle  at the fishing camp. A stinky wave from the rapids splashes on to me and I get wet thoroughly wets me to my underwear.

Miserable  Marius?

I watched parts of two movies last night. First one the ‘Da Vinci Code’ and the second the vampire chronicles ‘Queen of the Damned’. Something caught my attention while watching the first. During a chase the car moves off and the scene pauses at a poster of the play ‘Les Miserables’ on a brick wall. The second movie made me focus on two things, ‘Marius’ the original vampire and a short violin jugalbandhi. The music was awesome, it sounded Carnatic. I told myself that I will have to browse the net tomorrow on all these focus points.

My convenient amnesia refreshed my RAM on these matters but I did go to Wikipedia and coincidently I found ‘Les Miserable’ on the home page as a featured link! It seems today was the day in 1985 that the play opened in London. I went through the link to find that there is a character in this play called Marius.

Reflections – The feather girl



People, waiting for something, somebody
A super highway, separating the land and sea
Extra large vehicles zooming by, trees without leaves, sprouting bombs. Finally, the greenest of trees and a bright blue sky,

In our community stretch workshops, the day starts with reflections on the insights of the previous day and dreams of the previous night.

The dreams tell us that the day’s process continues during sleep and almost everybody is able to recollect their dreams. The dreams best reflect the process.

At times we meet our partners in dialogue over the internet, chat, mails and blogs. The following dreams are drawn from the dream journal of one of our partners. The dreams related to teh period of her study of FD over two years from  21 – 23.

The Flood

The roads, markets and buildings were all flooding with people suffering from cancer, leprosy and other illnesses

No food, medicines, ambulances, no hospitals, nothing.

She was crying, was afraid that she also will fall ill. She wanted to help people but she had no idea what to do.

She looks out for help but everybody was busy. The healthy were busy escaping and the sick were busy mourning, squatting, waiting, helpless and dying.

A flood of potatoes

Potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes.  She is astonished at the huge quantity of potatoes lying everywhere.

She keeps walking to her destination with a few scraps to feed the pigeons waiting for her. It strikes her, it is some emergency and curfew will soon be declared. It was important that she delivers the feed to her pigeons in time. She walks fast, faster and then she runs. At the same time she sees two women talking garrulously and denigrating her severely. She listens but does not respond but keeps on walking and running.

Finally she reaches her destination.

Playing in the mud

She is seven; her hair is long enough for pony tails. Her mother always does it for her. She looked pretty in her white cotton frock with cute yellow polka dots all across. She stepped out of her shoes to get inside her play house….and came out with one of her prettiest dolls.

She had plenty of them; most of them remained packed, untouched. She was not fond of playing with dolls even at that little age.  She enjoyed talking and travelling …more than anything.

As far as her eyes could chase she could find only green or brown all around her.
All her toys play house, earthenware’s everything brown….and nature all around her green.

Her friend, the only one she ever made friends with Rahul was beside her….He too looked pale and brown that day. Shaili asked him. Why Rahul, you don’t want to play with me? I will leave if I am bothering you.

He made no comments. She knew that he was no more comfortable with her. She felt tense and decided to get the intimacy back. She told cheerfully, Rahul! Come,  let me hug you. He did not respond but Shaili hugged him,

She was stunned to feel the crudeness in him. She had felt it earlier also

She was thrilled but also felt bad and foolish. She was wondering do I want anything from him.

No, nothing…the answer came from within instantaneously.

She asked herself, is Rahul capable of giving her anything. No, she answered.

“Then why am I bothered”

She did not want to lose her one and only friend.

He was being selfish. He was suspecting that she wanted something that he had and she was not worthy enough to get it.

He said, Shaili, you don’t deserve my words; I will not speak to you anymore.
For the first time, Shaili felt someone had came close enough to shake her. She was quick to decide not to stoop lower than herself respect.

She stared Rahul in wonder…..  Surprise.

She kissed him, the brown Rahul for the last time, the very last….  clutched him in her small arms….which barely could hold him, kissed him on his chubby cheeks and whispered

“Bye bye forever”………She felt the mud on her lips. She wiped it off with her white sleeves. She wiped his cheeks as well. She was surprised to see the mud on the sleeves..

She felt left out, tense and bad, all at the same time. She didn’t know what to do next. She could feel the warm tears on her cheek. She held him tight and wept her heart and eyes out.

Jo was passing by. He was surprised seeing her in the mud and scolded her
“What are u doing here, you little impossible monster”?

She was distracted. She felt that the brown Rahul was nothing but the mud she was wallowing in.

She looked at Jo and said  “I am sorry, I didn’t know… by mistake, I was confused if it was someone or a loam of soil.”

“That is ok. Let us go home, and get cleaned up”… Jo said.

“Fine'” Shaili replied…with a smile.

Just another Dream

I am window shopping looking at grocery.   I do not know whether I have to buy them or not. I am just enjoying the hustle and bustle of the market, families with young kids, parents buying ice cream for children.  Some who could not afford to spend were telling the children stories of their childhood how in their time life was easier. Now inflation has made life so difficult and so on. I move on.

I am passing bya row of garment shops all decorated and showcased with beautiful and fancy clothes. I don’t like any. Seems I am not interested in this stuff as well.  Customers are haggling and I   keep on observing as I move past them.  Suddenly I see some wild animal. It’s a sort of a horse but much larger than a horse with brown and white spots on its back and two extremely big horns.

The crowd panics. There is mayhem. I am about to run but then suddenly I realize that running won’t help. I feel I am far enough from harm and I stop running. I notice that I am neither panting nor afraid of the creature.  I watch the animal without even blinking my eyes.

The animal is moving towards the crowd with a graceful and easy walk. To me it seems like an old model’s catwalk. It appears that the creature is harmless.  It too is watching the whole scene very carefully and asks the people  “What happened?

And suddenly the whole scene disappears.   There is a dust storm and everything is invisible. I don’t know how I managed to reach home, but I did.

My mom is worried and is closing the windows and asks me to close the windows in my room. My siblings and parents were talking about the creature, and the storm. I wasn’t listening. I am still mesmerised with that graceful walk of the strange creature.

It’s another sunny day. We are out with Dad on a picnic and I see a carnival. I don’t have any clear idea as to what this carnival is all about.

I ask my dad that I will call him after two or three hours but for now let us part. I am alone, wandering here and there, looking at the old people . There are no children around.   What sort of carnival is this! Some are playing games, I could feel the lack of enthusiasm, I decide to go with them, start playing with them and do a running commentary  which brings fun and frolic in the game. The organizer comes to me and asks me to anchor the whole event. I accept. As my Dad sees me on stage, he calls on my cell, monster you have not eaten your food yet, you will go sick again and then I won’t take you to the doc. I smile and tell him that I did and  will have my food on time. I will remain here the whole day and I will reach home myself.  He says, all right, do well, and call me if you have any problems.  At the end of the day, the carnival was very successful. All the old people were taking my phone number and I was saving theirs in my phonebook.  We played a lot of amazing games, very involved which in real life I never do

A good dream!! I was still smiling when I woke up.

A perfect match

She is at her friend’s place. She tells her that she has divorced her husband for a long list of reasons but has now found her perfect match and married him.

She is back home and looking at a huge pile of washed but dry clothes. She is expected to press, fold and keep them in a stack. She starts doing it when she finds a glove. She puts it on and searches for the other.   She is apprehensive but keeps on searching but does not find it. What she finds do not match   She consoles herself. Let me press and fold these clothes, ‘ naturally’ I should be getting the right match by then.

She is an optician’s shop. She needs an eye check up and change the frame of her glasses. She selects a lens with – 0.25 less power than what she needs. She thinks, I have to go back to the shop and get the correct glasses.

At work

She is leading a group of people who keeps following her.  She stopped at some well furnished workplace and tells everybody to take their places. She is overseeing their work.

When they ask for suggestions, she gives them happily. Everyone is enthused and everything is going fine. A few problems come up in between; she could not remember what kind of problems. She sees that people are worried. They come to her, discuss and go away.

She is alone, thinking.  She saw herself again out with people. As if in a drama, people turn their selves to her.

And in a while everyone was ‘her’

She could see a lot of faces of herself. She was not scared. But she was surprised at seeing all the various expressions on the faces.

Some were satisfied and some were frustrated and a few were trying to improve.. Her role was the same.

At times she criticizes herself and at other times appreciates

Some of her faces are confident, other faces are diffident.

She at times cajoles herself and at other times denigrate

She sees herself struggling, also celebrating success with all her selves.

A lot many of her selves, everybody was her and then there is the miracle

She is turning into some kind of a large bird.

Old man and woman

The happy old man is sitting on a park bench remembering his good old days. He sees the kite flying in the sky, starts running after it as the line is cut. He wants to catch the kite, starts walking faster, then running. The line is near, he stretches his arms more and more and slowly he starts flying. He is dead but happy.

The old lady is sitting in the garden in front of her house. She sees her grand children playing. She remembers her life over the years from her childhood, how she learnt to cook, about her lover and then her ageing. Joy fills her soul. She does not know whether she slept first or dreamt first. She too was dead and happy.

She meets a boy on the beach, not very handsome, wearing a blue jacket, he is quite frustrated. He wants to befriend her for some reason. She says Ok and then he tells her everything about him. She figures out that he has been rejected all throughout his life. She gives him something in a white kerchief. He is happy but does not appreciate or value what she gave. He gives it away to the junk dealer. She feels pity on him and takes back her present from the junk dealer.

The trains

The train is quite luxurious and the fare high. Yet she manages to get a ticket.
Beautiful very lively girls and boys board the train, a difficult one. It runs on a track at the height of a fifty story building, something similar to a roller coaster mixed up with   a giant wheel. Those who do not manage to hold on to their SELF fall. No harm done but they are no more in the train. She could hold herself only till the third round and then she falls. She feels bad but finds herself in the station.

Trains again, many of them of all sorts, old, new, bare, ugly, rusted.
The tickets are cheaper this time, she takes one and waits for the train. It’s a quiet  night, the moon is shining and people around here are dull and mysterious. She sees her train coming to the platform. The colour of the train is black-blue this time. Earlier it was bright yellow. She could see the rust on the hand rails to the compartment. She could not board that contraption. Standing dumb, she watched the train leaving the station and her. She was at peace with herself.  She tried to figure out what to do. Before she could figure out anything someone told her that in 15 minutes another train will come and she can take that train. When it comes she feels hesitant boarding it but she does. The train is open and looks like a freight car. There are some others sitting near her. She has  some small colourful balls, black marbles, a match box and  three  blades and some paper with her. She does not play with them. Others are curious about her possessions. Finally she reaches her destination in the early morning. The sky is cloudy with a dull sun. She feels herself lost.

Another beautiful train, a unique one but a bit similar, long, neat, clean and sky-blue in colour. At the station there is a lot of hubbub. People are not as enthusiastic as in the first dream. All of them looked well settled, well dressed and ‘self-managed’. The train comes is on time and on the right platform. She tries once again, but misses the train.

The situation repeats itself. She is trying to figure out, what I do now. She does not feel helpless and in no time she figures out what to do. As soon as she takes the decision someone comes near and says, hello. She is on her way to do what she had planned. She tells her plans to her friend and together they discuss how to execute it. They gather the material, and start designing a cart, which slowly turns into a high speed car, not a very elegant one but small and beautiful. Both of them board the train. The cart moves on the same track and consumes very little fuel, as it is running on smooth rails. She mutters to herself “the technology is efficient and effective”.

They take some detours. A man tells them that the train stops at a certain station. They head to the station and finally board the train. She hugs her ‘friend of hard times’, and get in the train. People are yelling and shouting. There is no space for the others to sit.  People are hanging down on handles but her chair is empty. She sat on the chair like a queen and the train moves, gathers speed. People keep on complaining, about the lack of space, facilities and the flies and mosquitoes. She seems to be in a cubicle and everything is fine around her and everything is in plenty. The view outside is pleasing, her surroundings seemed air-conditioned, the breeze was soothing, She could see the river and the mountains through the window by her side. The train keeps running and running, first through the plains and then hills.

She kills her father and grand father

She takes her father to the place where she was born. One shot and he is done.  She laid him down and before covering him with white sheets she kisses is hands as she used to. She didn’t bother to wipe out the signs like professional killers.   She feels no remorse or guilt and leaves the place.

The next night had more of it waiting for her.

She had gone back to her place of birth and killed her mom’s grandpa. She asks,  her grandpa to name his will to her. At first he did not agree. She persists, argues and finally convinces him that she was the one, the only one worthy of it, smart enough to hold and take care of his property, so that it would not be left to ruins.

As soon as he signs the papers, she shoots and he is no more.

Parrot or Dove ?

She found it hard to decide whether to buy a parrot or a dove.
Her basic instinct was to have doves. Keeping,  caring for and loving the doves was natural to her. Nobody knew why but Jo did.

Jo was with her when the bird seller showed all the beautiful birds.
Shaili liked the pigeon too and decided to buy a pigeon, but it was getting difficult to make a choice between the parrot and the dove. Jo kept insisting that she buy a parrot this time, she was not convinced. Parrot is not something, she could associate herself with, so she would not buy it, Shaili explained and argued with Jo.  Sweetie then what is that you associate yourself with, Jo fired back.  “Horse, Dove and you”, she replied with a lady-like politeness and maturity.  Jo smiled saying “Ok”, and bought a parrot for himself said bye and left. Shaili thought for a moment as to why Jo had wanted her to buy the parrot. She came out of it as the seller asked her what she wanted. Finally she bought two doves and a pigeon.

The doves were gentle, peaceful, and beautiful. She loved them and for a long time kept looking at her three beautiful possessions, mesmerized and fascinated. Shaili always fancied that if she could learn the language of birds she could learn flying also.

She thought that it’s not because of the weight of their body that men cannot f ly but because birds had some secret knowledge of flying that they only knew.  Two hours went by. She was still sitting in her garden.

Jo came back with the parrot in his hands, seated himself under the same guava tree beside her.  Shaili looked up at him and at her doves and welcomed him with a satisfied smile. Shaili! I would like to give you a gift since you are the youngest and the most intelligent friend of mine.

Shaili smiled and winked her curious eyes, and Jo handed his parrot to her. As she said thanks to Jo, the parrot also repeated the words. They laughed and hugged. Now Jo looked serious and said “Look Shaili! This parrot can repeat what you teach it and you have to utilize this skill properly.

““Properly, properly” The parrot repeated.

‘Ok I will see what best I can do with it.  Jo……..!!! Actually I am afraid. Seriously I don’t have any idea,  what to do with it.”

“Don’t worry honey, you will find out soon”,

“I trust you” Jo answered, The last words put shaili’s mind into some kind of a quest. It was not that Shaili did not understand Jo’s messages or what he talked, but it was his specific way of encoding that Shaili liked to decipher  Obviously she argued about stuff she found confusing to her and Jo cleared all of them with nature like dexterity and but with care.

“Hmm….. Ok thank you”

“Jo you are a dear friend” and with these words she offered one dove to him. Jo accepted it silently he could not find any words. She looked at him with motherly affection and he responded with a childlike innocence.  He   was silent and but thoughtful for a long time.

Finally He said “Thank you My Angel Girl”.

Sleepless nights

Bare feet, pink frock with pretty frills and white lace all around her sleeves….

She looked at the mirror. Beautiful curls were swinging all around making her small brown face more beautiful. …curious eyes, a proud nose, the face shone with audacity and hope, naïve, yet confident

She was in her study.  She closed the book and kept them away and took out a tube of glue from the drawer. She crafted two beautiful wings that balanced each other out of those feathers and cheerfully she tried them on.

She felt light without the drag of gravity but felt the resistance. She could also feel the lift coming out of her, her mind, heart and soul.

She landed near the girl, the older Shaili on the balcony, looking pale and haggard.

She placed those wings on her very gently and whispered to her the secret of flying, kissed her on both cheeks, less brown and less chubby. The curls were longer. The older Shaili responded by hugging and pampering the younger one. The little one felt the tears on the cheeks of the elder one. She wiped those tears away with the sleeve of her favourite pink frock, ignoring the thought that it will become wet with the tears. She embraced her and finally dissolved in to her.

No two Shailis,  anymore!

Shaili took out those wings from her back and held them softly but firmly in her hands, went back to her study, placed them inside the books and started studying the chapters 1, 2,3,4,5……

When she woke up she realized that she has been revising the lessons of her last classes in her dreams. She felt quite confident about those chapters and happy about those wings
She was again on the same balcony and observing the twinkle, beauty and the calmness of the stars. She was not transformed into the child yet. Jo also was not there. She was wondering “what would have made these stars what they are!!”
She wished if she could fly and reach the star just to find out what was preserved underneath.

All of a sudden the winds started blowing heavily and all the feathers she collected started flying here and there from where they were preserved safely under the cover of her study table. She was panicky and ran after them. The wind was so strong that she could not collect even a single feather and was feeling lost at the loss of her world.

She was standing dumb, just watching carefully where the wind was carrying all her feathers. She focused more and more and to her surprise the wind changed in to a whirlpool and all her feathers automatically came all around her flying with joy. She was not horrified, not pale, calm or patient but as she knew all. She sat there till all the winds came to a stop and the feathers came together all around her. She picked them all up one by one and noticed that the winds had made the feathers more alive.

The same sparkling star stole her attention and the same desire swept all over her mind and soul. She left the thought at the balcony and went inside.  She sat at her study table, placed the feathers back in their place and started doing her craft work. She could not give it the shape she wanted. She returned to the balcony, sat down on her favourite chair. Frames from her past flashed through her eyes.  She was 19 ,,,, then 18 ,,,, 17 ,,,,,16 ,,,,, 15 ,,,,,,14 ,,,, and now she was 13 years. Once again she felt the same joy of being young and naive. This was the time when she was beyond the thoughts of success or failure when nothing could steal her childlike joy that used to spread all over her face, a  period of life when she did not know there was such a world as melancholy.

The 13 year old or 13 year young Shaili was playing happily like a fawn in the same room where on the other side of the balcony sat the 21 year old Shaili without the will or desire of to live anymore.

Mr Freud, the two doors and the key

There was a huge traffic jam on the main road and Shaili needed to reach another street, adjacent to where she was. She could see a number of houses and a beautiful park all aligned in a row.

Some children were playing happily.  She had no clues as to what she was searching and why she was this way.

She was in a hurry to reach her destination. She didn’t want to wait for years. The desperation made her face blank. No one could read her mind. Freud who lived at the same street saw her and called her from the balcony. She looked upward to  face him and told what she was up to. Freud thought for a moment and said he might help her. He signalled her to come inside. She went in as the main gate was already open. It was the first time that she was at Freud’s home. In the living room she saw an old lady. She wouldn’t have been  very beautiful when young, she thought who looked pale, alone and yet happy.   She gave her a welcome smile and said that she knew her as Freud had already told her about Shaili. The lady offered her some sweet dish made of mangoes and coconut, which Shaili carefully preserved in her pocket.

Freud called her again from his room on the second floor. She kept escalating till she saw Freud waving his hand to her. Freud said come…on Shaili, let me show you something. Shaili kept following him. She was tired of walking and wondered if the house was a maze. Finally they reached a place where she saw two huge Doors. Both of them were equally huge, but one of them was unreachable as there were no bridging stairs but the other had.

Shaili was looking wishfully and fascinated at the door which had no connecting stairs. Freud looked at her and said “hey, Shaili! I am sorry I too don’t know how to reach and open that door but I have the key to another door.” Shaili looked depressed but then he said “look! I will suggest that you go through this door and explore the world, may be that will help you find the key and way to this door.” He offered her the key which she received with gratitude. She kissed him and hesitantly opened the door.

She was stunned.   She was in a beautiful garden; nature was this magnificent to her. She was mesmerized by what she saw. She looked back, thought to thank Freud again but there was none.  The disappearance of Freud seemed natural to her.  There was plenty of water in a pond. She looked down into the eater. She was a five year old, neat clean and beautiful who had her curls swinging carelessly pampering her face.

Shaili wondered what she should be doing there. As if in reply someone answered “you are here to learn from nature, the source of all learning. There is  no better teacher “.

She looked at the source with the joy and fearlessness of the baby lighting up her face

He lifted her up in his hands and said  “baby you are so light”.
Shaili took out the feathers from her pocket and with all the innocence of the baby said “bcos of feathers, Jo”.

Right then she named her angel “Jo”. They turned in another direction and started towards deep nature.

Wings of gold

wings of gold

Ouch. She was flying with the wings little Shaili offered her in the dream. She was flying above her garden, home and city. She looked at the sky; passionately. The same bright shining star caught her attention again and most probably for the last time. Without thinking anything else she headed towards the clear sky with the half moon and all the stars. Somehow she knew that it was something that was waiting to happen. She felt joy, satisfaction and hunger to see more all at the same time.

She was flying staring up, no slopes, or curves, straight up. Resistance only made the wings stronger.  The thrust was coming out of her. All the happiness and joy shone on her face. She wanted to kiss, hug the star which took her attention for the longest time than anything else in the world.

She reached the star. There was no comparison to whatever she had felt in the past. Yet she could not feel anything.  In between she noticed that she had mastered flight. Her beloved was in front of her. She stepped forward to embrace him and she moved ahead.

Oh no!! No!!! She screamed. She never expected this. All this fire…inside the star………….Oh!!

Her skin was burning, her dress caught fire. Her heart was pounding heavily. She thought she will die of a heart attack than burning. She had never expected that a calm star would be a ball of fire.

Hopelessly but with all the love for feathers she thought of looking at her wings for the last time.  She was stunned at the sight. All the soft feathers were gone. The bare structure of the wings came out of it. She was not feeling any heat. Her skin was all right or maybe, she got adapted to the fire. She looked confused but happy.

She didn’t know what to do. But   without knowing she took out that bare structure of wings from her back, and like an adept she restructured it as she thought about the faults in her wing structure while flying to the star

She put the wing structure on her back and enjoyed the warmth of the place. She noticed that her wings were woven with thick  gold wires drawn out of the fire. She felt happy but not excited. She focused on something that was waiting seeking her attention. She looked beautiful and confident. She flew into another ring of fire, without any fear, felt the zone was warmer. She adapted herself in no time to the new atmosphere. The process went on….one warmer ring, one more

Then finally she gets out of those rings of fire.

A handsome man is waiting for her who placed seven beautiful diamonds on those wings. And then he gives her a bigger diamond of the same kind as Jo had given her once. She holds it close in her fist.

The man said…”Shaili take out your wings; your time is waiting. Use these wings only when you need them and the same goes for the diamonds. Take care!!  Bon voyage!!”. She nodded gracefully said thank you and left. She did not bother to look back.

A beautiful white horse was waiting for her. She took a ride and landed safe on her bed … rejoined with herself. She is no more an ordinary girl.  I have come a long way, she says, smiling softly at herself and her thoughts.

The lighthouse

She was wandering near her first school. She had not been to the place for so long. Her friends had told her that the school was transformed to a grand, beautiful building, modern as well. She saw herself the same way as she used to be when she was in the fifth standard in the same favourite olive green frock, white socks, and the very same white shoes which the two artificial butterflies on it. In a flash she remembered the see-saw and the small and green playground of her school. The see saw was like a boat where the two children sat face to face and enjoyed. Shaili had sat on it only once. She could not do it a second time as she was afraid that it will topple and fall over, no one will know and she will die in oblivion. She dismissed the thought and cheered herself up and moved farther on the road that she had never taken. Normally she would have returned home from the swing.

She sees a chemical factory, beakers and jars, chemicals and fumes. She ignores it and moves ahead on her path. She comes across another school.
As she walks ahead she is mesmerised with the sight of the beautiful building. She is curious. The steps take her to a fort. The architecture is both modern and ancient, sort of a fusion, made of wine red and white marbles.  The child like wild curiosity leads her to the grand dark entrance. She steps inside though her heart skipped a few beats as she did so. A huge space was spread out to walk through which she did. Some unknown fear washed over her. She trembled suddenly as she heard someone coming to her. She collected all her courage and kept standing there with temerity.  A healthy young lady, clad in shining silk emerged. Shaili brightened at once, she wished her good evening. Further she said I want to know what all this is. Where am I? Who are you and in between she said “I am Shaili, I live nearby”. The lady smiled and told her everything about the fort and about its purpose.

Now Shaili looked confident and said, “I want to explore this fort please”

The lady offered her hand which she takes it and they move ahead. The lady tells her, this is a nine storey building.

Suddenly a white wing comes down and lands at her feet. She picks it with love and keep it inside her pocket gently as the lady giver her permission with her eyes.
They start exploring the building from the very ground floor. As she took the steps with the lady, she saw a dim light coming out of that big place; many people were working hard, fast and silent. They were engrossed in their work and did not notice the lamps at their workstations. Rather everyone had their own candles.

At first she thought maybe they needed to know about switches but then the lady told her that they were not interested in more light. They wanted to live in oblivion and did not know if there were any switches. She felt pity   and tried to tell a person all about switches but he did not take notice of her.

Shaili was now on the fourth floor, a real pleasure seeing that world. She felt herself bathed in energy and enthusiasm.  She looked at Jo and said– Hurray, wow what a place….. Amazing to be true!!! Come on, Jo. Show me everything and introduce me to everyone. The place was beautifully furnished. People were   calm and appeared to be washed in joy. She saw no lamps but there was light more than anywhere else and she realized it was coming out of a big source of light.

Now it was Jo’s turn to speak. Shaili did not like what he said.

He said “Shaili you have to go back and climb these stairs all by yourself “.

Shaili looked puzzled. Jo said that only then you will be permitted to explore this place.”Hmm,” said Shaili. She sang a few beautiful lines of a song she had learnt from her mother. She got down those stairs and in joy covered them in seconds the same steps she was terrified of before meeting Jo

“All right, can we explore this floor now” Shaili asked cheerfully.

A gentle nod and a divine smile was all that came from Jo.

“Oh Jesus! What a heavenly place, Jo what do you do here?” Shaili asked

Jo said I am on the sixth floor, where my workstation is.

Jo talked a lot about the place and the source of light. An unknown joy filled her up to the depth of her soul.

The place looked in perfect order. People were vivacious, yet so silent.
Shaili could feed the flow of a different energy. She kept talking to Jo all the way. She talked to almost every person, and this Shaili did herself as Jo kept standing aside and aloof. She felt that at this floor there was actually no need of lamps as people were aglow

She wanted to ask Jo but dismissed the idea finding it weird.
Shaili looked at Jo and thanked him. She wanted to move on to the 5th floor.
But Jo showed her the plethora of pages he was carrying and said. He was going down to the third floor, as he thought his work might help the people working there. So you have to explore these floors by yourself. He said there is no need to worry or fear as you will receive help automatically when you need it.
He beamed a ‘ Bon Voyage’ to her and smoothly flowed down the stairs. She too wished him good day and turned towards the stairs to the fifth floor.
Without thinking she started escalating without much of effort and she was on the fifth floor.

The same lady greeted her with a difficult question this time. She was puzzled, took a long time to come up with an answer but the lady was all smiles when she answered. She smiled that familiar smile and moved herself out of her way.
Her eyes forgot to wink for a while. When she finally winked, she saw people swinging. All of them were swinging without support, in the air. She stood frozen watching all the swings in fascination. The place was very brightly lit and people looked like lighthouses. She rubbed her eyes and wished that Jo was there to confirm what she saw real or just another dream.
A young lad came to her in a flowing motion. Shaili kept looking mesmerized first at the rope then at the boy. She was sure that she was seeing him for the first time, but still she could not dismiss the thought of familiarity. She tried hard to remember but all she could find was the joy and the smile on her face as the boy said hello offering his hand.
She gave her hand, felt safe and protected. The satisfaction of being pampered filled her with a new kind of enthusiasm. The lad smiled back as he handed strings to Shaili and asked her to make her own swing.  The known fear of swinging swept all over her and she stood dumb not knowing what to do till the lad came closer and showed her how to do it. She recollected all her courage and did the same.
And Yes!! She was swinging ……swinging high……swinging higher. She turned to the boy looked curiously in to his eyes and asked, how did this happen and kept on asking herself  trying to see and find  out for herself.

Three pebbles

Hey ….Shaili dear, what are you doing here, said Jo as he saw Shaili.

Shaili flung herself at him. She shed all her fears and years of loneliness, they sat on the stairs

The lady was amazed at their chemistry as Shaili opened her heart out and Jo listened to her soul speak. She told him that she was showing the building to his child, and asked if he would help him and show other floors to her by himself.

Jo said beaming with pride that Shaili is a hero and would explore other floors by herself now.  The lady was amazed and argued that she is new to the place, but all Jo did was smile.  The lady walks away. He seated her on his lap, pampered and offered her two small pebbles; Shaili placed them neatly on her head to realize that the pebbles were turned into diamonds. She hugged Jo, kissed him on his cheek. Jo pointed to the other. She smiled and kissed him on the other cheek. He took out another pebble from his pocket; it was light orange in colour. This time Jo asked her to put it safely in her pocket. She understood what he said.

Jo stood up and gave his hand to Shaili. But she wanted to sit with him….
Shaili said that Please Jo sit with me…. and let us play cheesier. Jo was equally determined. He finally cajoled her but the deal was he should to carry her on his back. There was no way she could remain there. Jo was a dear. She would never refuse him


The lady smiled and said let them do their work. You come with me; there is a lot to see.

The stairs were not easy, had a large gap in between, Shaili was afraid that she  will  slip in between, but  with the help and encouragement of that lady she managed cheerfully.

Here there was some light.  Some had their own lamps some had had lanterns and to her surprise some people were cooking their food on  it.

They were clad in better clothes, she felt a different energy in the environment but she could not smell the camaraderie and joy, people were indulged in their work seriously, but definitely it was better than ground floor.

Then… the lady asked another question and getting satisfied she put a kiss on Shaili’s forehead and lead her to second floor.

Second floor had all the lamps on, and people seemed relaxed although they were working continuously. They gave a smile to Shaili; Shaili returned a broader one so that it filled the atmosphere with the lightness of joy.

Shaili talked to them and became friends with them. She promised to see them again.
The lady repeated the ritual of asking questions and happily moved to the third floor with Shaili.

It was s better place; the genuine joy was in the air and on people’s faces. She liked them better, made friends and liked one person, Fred, someone very special.
Now she was on her way to fourth floor. The lady was wondering about Shaili. She was very happy for her and thought the question this time would be difficult for her.

The Snake Dreams

There was a big snake, green in colour with brown spots on its skin. She could not make out whether it was her friend or whether it wanted to kill her. She was in a temple and there were snakes all around.

There was a pond. She is in the pond and the snake is all around her body. She was crying badly and a friend of her who was a better player who used to win every game they played together in those days rushes in to kill the snake. He was elder to her by three years. He shoots to kill the snake but because of the snake she escapes or the snake saves her and let her go.  The temple she saw is exists in reality. She came to know of it much later.  The dream continued till she visited the temple.

She is on the bank of a river and there are snakes and snakes everywhere. The same snake was trying to draw her attention, but she is afraid. ‘He’ wanted to shake hands but she refuses. ‘He’ does not like this. It seemed as if he was angry with her and will kill Shaili, he was after her but she does not allow herself to be ‘caught.’ The dreams continued but she did not befriend the snake. But every time the snake does its best to get rid of her fear. She is afraid of its touch, the venom and death. The day comes when ‘he’ finally succeeds in getting rid of the fear.

She is no more afraid.

Over the course of these dreams the snake transforms from it to him even changing his shape. In one of the dreams it has   rather beautiful   lips that one might like to kiss. Other features she could not remember. In another he develops a height of   5 feet and 9 inches in place of length. The snake had the power to fly which he teaches to Shaili, a very different way of flying. They used to step upwards and earth did not offer any gravity. They used to talk in French or Sanskrit and travelled to exotic places hand in hand, from an old temple to the cafe of Paris.

She saw them taking drinks together, and the snake / gentleman’s hand was on her waist. They kissed passionately and she awoke sweating. She was afraid that she had drunk snake venom.  The last time she saw him he proposed to her and they were engaged in a long passionate kiss, Shaili had accepted his proposal and she did not want to come out of the dream but eventually she did. She felt like vomiting with the very idea that she was in love with the snake. And then those dreams never came back.

The bath

It was a spacious bathroom in white marble. The white lights were giving it a miraculously mysterious effect. The mystery was in the satisfaction she felt as she was trying to figure out the reason this time.

She shifted her attention to what was going on. She was clad in a white robe, and the bathtub was also white. She noticed that the taps were golden. She opened the tap, and adroitly she placed a soap bar (she was not so sure if it was a bar of soap. Whatever it was, it was transparent white almost in aqua colour. When the tub was half filled she closed the tap, took out that bar and stepped out of her robe to get in the tub. She opened another tap … which started making bubbles in the tub. The foam smelled of lime. She felt that the water was thick like whey and the foam was smooth like butter. She felt a bit uneasy in her conscious mind but in her subconscious she was enjoying it thoroughly. It took some effort to come out of the tub and she stood under the full lukewarm shower. The joy and pleasure seemed everlasting. She dried herself, now clad in a maroon robe; she saw her face in the mirror. She realized it was not exactly how she was now; she was older, beautiful and healthy as well. Her face had a radiant effect…and her hair was long but still curly. She examined herself again with love and dexterity. Then she went out from that bathroom, and where she landed, realized it was a bedroom, done in special hues. She noticed a painting hanging on the front wall “The white horses and dove.”  She smiled as she saw a man and the baby playing in safety and love, in his lap.

Baby was clad in green. She saw herself looking at him mesmerized at the sight of him and the baby together. His warm husky voice welcomed her- “Beautiful”.

He smiled…and stood up all of 5 feet 10 inches, not very dark, dressed in a professional manner. She noticed his tie was her favourite colour and pattern. She saw herself smiling, flirting as he approached her with the baby in his arms. As soon as he was about to come closer, kiss her or who knows what else he had in his mind, the baby places a hand on his face and plants her face all over with those little soft kisses. She has a hearty laugh as the   baby was quite playful and the man quite helpless. She finally opens her eyes with stretched lips, the joy a part of her knowing now.

A tech dream

Part 1.

Sonali and Monali are twins from my neighbourhood. They are two and we are quite attached. I see some autos decorated with the tattoos of Mozilla Firefox , Internet explorer, Safari, and Chrome and then there are a few tattoos which I don’t recognize.

They clamour to take the twins with them. The girls are wandering here and there, quite curious to know that who ultimately will take them.
Finally the girls make a decision and say that they will go with all of them one by one,

But there are just a few drivers who understand their language. The girls don’t speak clearly and they have their own notations.  The drivers are unable to take them on the ride.

Now the others try…… few of them claim that they understand what the babies say, but then they interpret them wrong and make serious mistakes…

At times they come across few scaring accidents as well… but not much of harm happens.

Then some drivers ultimately understand them very well, and take the girls to where they wanted to go.

Destination. Where they appear as, arrival.shonali and arrival.monali

Remember the extension patterns.  🙂

Part 2

I see a plant, consisting of tender leaves and beautiful flowers. The flowers are as yellow as gold, leaves as green as algae. And the plant did not lag moisture, promising a beauty as it will grow.

Besides it I see a mirror and aspects.

I am playing with the plant, I am nurturing it and slowly I turn into a plant, better than the one I was playing with, there is none other like me. The plant is 5 feet and 5 inches tall. I wonder whether it wears sports shoes.

Then I look into mirror, I see few of my branches heading in the direction which I do not find good, I do not break them, I have the power to absorb my leaves back into my heart. I preserve them safely. Then I put on different- different aspects and see myself and the world through them.

I analyze that which aspects make the world look different and up to what extent. I keep trying, and then I am back to my own aspects and my body as well. I am  human or at least I look like one.

Part 3

I am doing make up to go to some party or so I believe. Some friends are around. The help me and they criticize my sense of dressing, my shoes my hair etc.  I am to choose among three beautiful dresses, a beautiful red-yellow-green and magenta colour dress which looks great but I did not like it at all.

The second is pale yellow and light green dress with some orange shawl.  I try it but people deny considering it smart.  They say it’s heavy and dull. I hated it but I am trying all the dresses just to know the people’s views.

Then there is my favourite one white and gray made of chiffon and cotton. Light and smart one, everyone appreciates it. I feel so happy that everyone liked my choice. I pretend that I am just following what they liked and then there are accessories to choose from.  My options are , heavy metal jewellery and Tattoos

Feathers, some paper jewellery and there were a lot of other things

I opt for feathers which I promptly stick in my hat. I don’t wear them… but, ah, this is a dream. In between some of my friends tell me that if I wear some particular dress or accessories I won’t be compatible with them, i.e. I won’t meet their standards, and they won’t be able to take me with them. I take care of all that and finally when I get ready it is such that I am compatible with everyone. All are happy with me, and all of us go in for the party.

Geeks, I wonder if the Google homepage flashed before your eyes.

Emotional Anatomy : Dreams and the body

Dialogues – Aging out of life

Meenakshi asks, In our time do we age out of life?

Like most questions, the answers are yes, no, and yes and no

“Death is not essential’, said The Mother

Reading this, has been a milestone in my learning.

Life begins when we resolve our issues with death and ageing

We are not designed to die but to live

Death is a habit and we are breaking more and more out of this habit – people are living longer.

What is time? Is it linear, a one way traffic, an arrow that moves from birth to death?

This cannot be natural since nothing in nature is linear. There is an arrow of time that goes in the opposite direction, memory – how we RE-collect our past.  The sun we see  is around 9 minutes old but our  thought does not take nine minutes to reach the sun  we see, the sun that was nine minutes ago.

Yes thought is faster than light.

As we talk our cells die and new cells are born, two more arrows, to put it in a very crude way. In place of the first arrow we have four arrows of time now.

When this is experienced, birth and death become simultaneous, not a journey from point A to B, birth to death. One transcends linear time and steps into eternity, become ageless.

So we age out of linear time, not out of life, and start living in the NOW, – eternity.

When was I born?  MM DD YYYY? That was the birth of my body.

Did I have anything to do with it?

The real me was born much later when I  RE-collected all that scattered stuff and put them all together and I walked out of the shadows of death, linear time, my unconscious and took that first step to the birth of myself , eternity and continual renewal.

How old are you?

I have multiple choices to suit the questioner

I am 61, for the straights

I am 39 when I count from the birth of my SELF

I am 29  if I count from  when I decided to live life on my terms ( It took ten years for the self to become mature enough to make that decison)

15 billion (in arrow terms) years.

The logic is I am as old as the Universe and everything  that went on is mapped in me in many ways

> 15 billion years – something in me will go on living for ever.

< 2 years – age of the oldest cell in my body ?

Take your pick or all of it.

Have some more of your own answers.

It is always better to have as many answers, perspectives, than anyone single answer.


What is NAN?   The Indian bread?   New Age Nonsense?

Well I could have been dead yesterday. I haven’t. What greater miracle do you need to make life wonderful?

So what is the answer, without beating around the bush?

In “our times “, we can age out of time itself.

We can age out of life too.

It is a Choice.

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
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