Saturday, October 20, 2012

Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC): Secrets

There is a thing or two I've learnt about secrets over the past couple of years. It has been in a fully sound state of mind that I have vetted and verified this little "secret" about secrets in general. Now I can't generalise and say whether this is true with everyone but based on preliminary observations, this phenomenon does appear to be universal. Before it begins to sound like an article from a science journal, let me get to the point.

On several occassions I have noticed that if you are in a process of planning or actually doing something, especially when it is very important, keeping it a secret until its done and you're on the other side, will most certainly ensure an obstacle-free course to your object of interest. I have experienced it several times that its best not to disclose your plans to anyone before they are done. What seems to happen if you do tell it before hand is that the number of trials and setbacks you receive tends to increase. At times it has even sabotaged the mission entirely. At best, the task is completed but with significant losses or unforeseen problems which prick you like a thorn along the way. Now of course this is and perhaps can never be verified scientifically, however, I would definitely recommend trying this out for yourself. There is no harm in trying, if it works you're golden. If it doesn't, well you've got nothing to loose.

I am not sure how this happens but the amount of times this has happened has confirmed my belief that there is more to it than mere coincidences or synchronicity. There must be an underlying force working here. Quite spooky.

On another note though, this appears to happens only with things you desperately want. It would usually not affect you if you tell people that you wish to become the next president of your country or become richer than Bill Gates. Perhaps because nobody would believe this can happen. Now you may well end up becoming one of those or even both. But the trend seems to be that people's or at least your audience's amount of faith in your ability to accomplish the thing you just told them will be inversely proportional to your level of mental and physical comfort along the way to accomplish the task. So keep it quite, work at it, get it done, and then throw a party. Else it will just be a party for an achievement that never was.

Think about it, is all I would say. The results of keeping such things a secret are too big to not want.

* Note to self: Writing scientific documents as a part of my job is clearly ruining my ability to write creatively and informally. Should've got back to blogging sooner.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium, where AnuAshokConradDeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMaria the Silver FoxPadmumPaulRamanaShackmanWill Knottand I write on the same topic. Please visit the other blogs to get eleven different takes on today's topic, chosen by Will Knott. Do visit their blogs to see different takes on the same topic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Crisis of Moral Authority

Calvin is worthy to be one of the Gods of today's world.
Now here's a chance to start your own cult from the comfort
of your own home!

"...our current society is moving toward a trend of accepting any moral behavior on the grounds of freedom of choice. It has become "politically incorrect" to speak up and call any social behavior immoral. In this way, I think we as a large society have truly lost our moral compass. If truth exists in this world, then it must be that some things are right, and some things are wrong, no matter how much society would like to accept them..."

The above comment was left on my previous post by a fellow LBC blogger Delirious and is the inspiration for this post. It made me think, one thing then led to another and here we have a post about the crisis of moral authority. What's that got to do with morality? Read on it may just click.

When we are young, everything we are taught and made to do is essentially to cultivate a very peculiar method of conforming to the authority. Authority in all its forms can be seen all around us, but the one I am interested in here for the purpose of this post is that of our role models. Most of us have role models, be they some highly successful people in our society or simply our parents or older siblings or neighbours. They are the ones we look up to, in times of crisis, we tend to think about what they would do in such a situation and because we inherently believe them to be right, we automatically believe that doing what they do will mean we've done the right thing.

My question is this, what standard should we use to judge our role models? If we were to follow in their footsteps and actually "be" right rather than just feel that we have done the right thing, then surely there must be a certain set of criteria they must fulfil to live up to this faith we place in them? Now what if our role models were wrong? We're in big trouble aren't we? Going back to the above comment, in this light it becomes clear that moral integrity is perhaps the most important attribute role models and those in the roles of authority must posses. How true is this in reality though? For someone from my generation, it would be quite obvious to feel our elders, those we looked up to, those with authority cannot be trusted. Why? Well, it was mainly the last 2-3 generations (those born after say 1940 in the West for the sake of argument) who created a lot of problems we face today. World War II, global warming, environmental disasters, selfish consumeristic behaviour, several economic depressions, these many things are scary enough to add any more to this list. How many of these were a result of a wrong choice made by those who could have prevented, averted or otherwise limited the extent of these problems? What made them choose, what hey chose?

I completely agree with Delirious, we as a society, have lost our moral compass. It is frowned upon to say freedom of choice must come with an awareness, acceptance, respect and practice of responsible and moral behaviour. Then there are those who feel morality is arbitrary. To them I say, if this is the case then there is no morality. However, we see several people behave morally too. This only proves that morality exists on the common foundations of truth, honesty and respect for everything and everyone around us. The way we perceive and practice it may differ. Just like the Sun's existence is an irrefutable truth. I from my garden see it up there and yellow, someone living on the top floor of a skyscraper sees it differently, a bird sees it differently still and for an astronaut in space it appears differently yet again. These different perceptions do not affect Sun's existence in anyway.

The point I am trying to make is simply this, the post above may appear as a rant against the others or blaming someone else. But if people from today's generation do not recognise this and change their behaviour, our children and grand-children will perhaps be harsher on us than we can be on our forefathers. They did what they did in the spur of the moment, and those of them who were wise didn't have the means to stop the problems from being created. We on the other hand not only recognise the problem, but also have powerful weapons such as the media and internet to make a bigger difference. If we don't walk the walk, then we would become what some say morally bankrupt.

Everything rests on truth, and its not the truth itself that changes, its only the way we perceive it. So the sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we can start getting out of the mess. Or be prepared to be pushed into crap by some believer of "end justifies the means".

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC): Acceptance/Accepting

We have become overly comfortable with acceptance. It seems to me that in this day and age, most of us (or certainly a majority of us in the urban/westernised/industrialised regions of the world) accept anything and everything that's thrown at us. By accepting here I am referring to a behaviour which is more akin to unquestioning conformity. Social psychologists have been pulling their hair apart for decades if not centuries to understand the whole concept of how groups behave, conformity and so on. The problem, however, is that things we have been accepting in this manner may not necessarily be good for us and most of them are not, if only were pause for a moment to question their validity and just think about them objectively. This is hardly the case though. Good time to give some examples in defence of this observation.

Everyone likes watching TV and it is generally accepted social norm to do so. Indeed several conversations people have everyday are in some sort of way related to something they watched on the TV. While there is nothing inherently wrong with watching TV, the problem starts with the content we watch. Like most things, TV can be a good and a bad thing, but taking a long term perspective, it may well have done more harm than good to those who prefer watching anything that results in lower utilisation of their ability to think. Advertisement is probably the biggest devil, followed closely by sensationalist media, programmes about celebrities, soap-operas of course and a whole other load of rubbish.

Similarly, we tend to accept processed food without judging its actual merit. Corporations and governments alike are hardly ever keen to talk about this subject. Most people would never realise but over 80% of processed food contains corn and soya in some form or another. It would take us forever to go over why this is a problem. I think it would be fair to suggest that we begin with an assumption that processed food is bad for us. We can debate the truth behind this while we are not eating it, as chances are it would do us more good than harm anyway. Plus it has been proved beyond doubt that this is true. Michael Pollan, an American author and New York Times columnist has gone as far as calling the whole processed food deal as "...Corn's evolutionary strategy to overtake the world while humans pretend to be the smartest species..." For those interested, I would recommend watching his documentary Food Inc. If that doesn't change the way you think about food, nothing will. It may be funny and diffuse the tension for a bit but it doesn't change the obvious fact that nothing beats eating healthy, organic and un-processed food as much as possible. As for the arguments about organic food being too fancy and unaffordable, I will be trying to dispel this myth in subsequent posts on this topic.

The list of such acceptable and indeed expected things to do also include being in debt, which is now considered normal and a lot of times we inevitably get into it whether we like it or not. Also consumerism has become a lot more acceptable. Do we really need that new mobile phone every 18 months? Do we really need to upgrade our cars, computers, home appliances, gadgets every so often and buy every new item that's out there? I doubt it. I admit of being guilty to some of these myself but that makes my questioning all the more appealing. It feels good now to be on the other end of the tunnel and knowing for sure that the light you saw really exists. The list is endless.

So here's what we can try doing to make our lives better and in turn make a difference to everyone including the environment.
  1. Avoid processed/fast food as much as possible. Buy local and in season products. Look out for that green, recycled or Fair Trade logos where available. It won't kill us to not have Mangoes, Strawberries or Watermelons all year round.
  2. Stop watching and more importantly believing everything they show on the TV. It is perfectly fine to watch some of the stuff they show on TV but we only need to think before wasting hours in front of the idiot box. One would realise, as I did, that most of what we watch is rubbish and we can easily live without it if not have a better life without it. No harm giving it a try. The feeling of liberation and saving time is amazing.
  3. Try not getting into debt as much as possible. We can live perfectly happily without credit cards, store cards, jumping at "buy now pay later" deals and falling for personal loans our banks try to sell us. Having said this though, credit is a good way to leverage when used sensibly and responsibly. Recklessness is what causes all the trouble.
These may be small things but if enough people do them, we will be living in a happier world within no time. We just need to take a stand and refuse to accept things at face value. More ranting will continue in future posts.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium, where AnuConradDeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpie11Maria the Silver FoxNoorPadmumPaulRamanaShackmanThe Old FossilWill Knottand I write on the same topic. Please visit the other blogs to get eleven different takes on today's topic, chosen by Shackman. Do visit their blogs to see different takes on the same topic.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back to blogging once again

It has been about 11 months since my last post. I am hoping this would be my official comeback to more consistent blogging rather than just another semicolons...well only time will tell that. But as I type this I am re-feeling (freshly baked word!) the amazing feeling I used to get when blogging. If only work was less hectic and life was more predictable. Anyhow, here we go then.

So the first post back is simply outlining how this blog would be going forward. This has to start with what in God's sweet name was I up to for all these months and where I am hoping to take this blog is very much connected to this. First of all, it was work. New job, less spare time, laziness, procrastination, the usual demons. On another note however, I tried to utilise the few spare moments of nothing to do in this time to think about what I should be doing with my life. Now I still haven't found the answer, which is why you can see "finding the purpose of my life" as one of my wishes in the bucket list on the right. As long as I figure it out before I die, that should be fine. In any case, what I did realise was that whatever I think, speak and do largely revolves around a few key areas of thought that it now appears I find myself attracted to.

- Attempt to become self sufficient
- Hoping for every thought, word and deed to have an impact beyond my vested selfish interests, no matter how small
- As much as possible, not be a cause of someone else's misery
- Making money (something non-altruistic for a change!!)
- Obsessive need to question anything and everything for no apparent reason (mostly not aloud)
- Rage against the system
- Photography (a hobby I picked up and upgraded in these past months)
- Drooling over motorbikes (especially Royal Enfield)
- Trying to figure out the purpose of my life
- Addiction to TED Ex videos
- Anything else interesting that I come across

Finally, I have also been experimenting on myself for a while. Trying to do rather unusual things and seeing whether it made any difference. Without giving away much, as subsequent posts will talk a lot about this anyway, it was to do with stuff my friends preferred to describe as insanity.

So this is broadly what I've been thinking about most of the time. From this perspective then, I hope to start a series of posts based around these themes. Its probably very much clear now that I am someone who is obsessed with organising and giving a structure to everything. Keeping this in mind then, I hope, and "hope" is a very important word here, so I hope to be able to post with at least some consistency on the following themes:

- Sustainable/Self-Sufficient Living or as some call Green Living
- Alternatives/out of the box ideas to live life differently
- Sharing the insights from self-experimentation
- Share an intriguing TED Ex video every week

Last but not the least, if I am allowed back in, I would very much like to resume writing with the Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) crew. Sincere apologies for vanishing without notice, but if you would be so kind as to let me back in, it would be a pleasure to post with you all every Friday. That should give me something to look forward to every weekend, apart from working the unofficial hours.

Pleasure to be back again, now just pray that I manage to become more consistent this time around. Now more than ever before, this would most certainly require a degree of divine intervention!