Sunday, 15 July 2012

Three Wise Monkeys (dont: see, hear, speak +evil)

Three Wise Monkeys : Reexamining an Ancient Teaching
The proverb of the "Three Wise Monkeys" has existed for long. It is often interpreted as Them that (do not see, hear or speak) evil shall be spared the three Vajras. There is a connection to body, speech and mind made.

Here is what I fathom. This is what the original was supposed to say (and was lost in literary translation.) 

"Do not see what you are not supposed to see. Do not hear what you are not supposed to hear. Do not speak what you are not supposed to speak." 

If you read that verse you will understand that within itself lies the paradox. "How will you know what you should not see if you do not see that and know the cause of its abhorrence? Applying the same to the next two actions, unless I have at least heard once what I should not be hearing how can I filter that? Unless I know what people do not want to listen to, how can I not speak that?"

There is enough evidence that the 'Three Wise Monkeys' and the paradox of morality dates back to extremely ancient times. There are figurines dating back to the mother goddess times and later to the times of phallic deities with similar symbols that suggests that this has been at least from the beginning (or renewal) of the five-thousand year old super-civilization we are.

If you went to school in India, you definitely associate these with (Mahatma) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (presently the "unofficial Paterfamilias of India.") These were gifted to him by a Chinese admirer who traced back 4th Century BC Confucianism to 8th Century BC philosophy that was prevalent in India (too much in India is wrapped up under the umbrella term Hinduism.) That helped it to make its way to our primary school text books and hopefully still exists on them today.

If you have read "My Experiments with Truth" (M K Gandhi) which is probably one of his best contributions - leaving the rest of the political dogma and controversies to vaporize as they have; the actual point being made is: "Find what is wrong, and the only way you can stop hearing/seeing/speaking it is by eliminating it, or by accepting it, until which time, you continue to address it."

Simplistic teaching for Rote Learning is helpful if you can recall what was learned in Rote and re-examine it at a later point in life. For this very reason Rote learning is unacceptable for higher education but preferable for learning if you are under the age of ten (10) - as we tend to remember lots of prose/poetry from under that age.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Urgency over efficiency - A cause of Stress

Human beings, irrespective of their profession have always been affected by trends from various echelons of society. Reading news articles, especially from Scientific sources that are on the lines of "We probably found the Higgs Boson" (ref: CERN press release today)  or "We have evidence of extraterrestrial microbial life" (ref: Mars Mission) has been quite frequent of late. Scientific method demands verification, the possibility of an antithesis and the dismissal of the antithesis based on facts or conjectures that can be repeated.

The new trend is not restricted to scientific articles, but also to Consumer Electronic products, the arena of Embedded Software Systems I work on. The pressure today is to deliver solutions to customers almost at 1/3rd the duration they were being delivered in the prior year.

This is a clear indicator of the aggressive motivation of growth. This "unhealthy" phenomenon is further exacerbated by economics seemingly inclining in favor of asymmetric or asymptotic growth patterns of material value generators in society.

In this world, where the everyday rush is not unlike a gold rush, it has a significantly "unhealthy" effect on both the perception of services provided and products delivered. A new acceptance of the 'incomplete' solution has began to dominate sectors including the automotive sector. Telecom companies have resorted to solutions like Android, where the (the core phone application is bound to restart, and is not as rigorously tested as prior.)

On the one hand we have a lot of momentum on increasing our awareness to the Environment and the Hazards we generate. Yet, the root cause of this lies in the want and the need to deliver ahead of the prior benchmark, oftentimes without sound reason or at times against reason.

Having been a hyper-workaholic, I can easily associate my habits with the work culture that has impinged our society. I have grown to understand that a calmer, consistent, measured and sound approach based on factual reasoning has a higher probability to succeed than a quick hack. This is something that has to be imbibed by entire companies as part of their culture and thereafter entire societies or groups of associated people.

An approach combined with commitment and the ability to reason and resolve the root cause of issues can benefit everyone in the long run and relieve several people in the chain of work from unnecessary stress. This also has to be done with the understanding that we, humans, are not machines, and have our biorhythms that are not always aligned with the day/night or a company's working hour routine. A solution that benefits both can easily be worked out considering that the result will always be a win-win.

I would personally be interested in hearing different thoughts on the same, especially on methods to curb the 'urgency' syndrome in the larger part of our responsibility to society and the environment itself.