SOCIAL CONFORMITY (2ND REPORT TO KHHHTGHHH)

 Dear Khhhtghhh! We’ve been here a while now and we still don’t see much chance of learning anything from these creatures. We strongly feel that the rumor about these humans being God’s best creation might have been some other life-form’s idea of a joke. However, we also think that we are not in a position to pass a final judgment yet since these creatures are not that easy to understand. They confuse us, and they seem to be even more confused themselves.

 It is hard to explain how totally ridiculously unsure they are. They seem to be extremely conscious of the fact that none of them strays too much from the norm and at the same time they appear so keen to be different from each other. We saw some of them who were unlike the others and all they could do was complain about that fact. Some cannot see, others cannot walk and so on and all of such humans were constantly whining about how terrible they felt since they were not the same as everyone else. But at the same time, those members of the race who are as average as one could possibly get keep wishing to be different. Even at such a basic level, these people do not seem to know what they want. We really doubt if, with such a confused idea of things, they could ever achieve anything of note, or anything that could justify the claim of them being the best of all creations.

 And yes! The funniest thing about this whole matter is the amount of importance they give to all this uncertainty. They actually spend a lot time, money and energy and mostly go against their own desires only to make sure that they do not become too different and are not noticed or criticized by other humans. Also, though it sounds impossible, they spend tons of money and time trying to look, sound and be different. We are at a loss of words to explain fully what we are seeing. But we are determined to find out more. Till next report.

 

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The Eye

I never liked Biology in school, but then I didn’t like any other subject either. However, there are one or two random things that have somehow stuck in my mind. One of the facts I have not been able to forget is how the eye works. If I remember correctly, light reflects off an object and the reflected light rays enter our eye and form an image. The part that most interested me was that the image formed inside the eye is inverted. Our brains then invert the image again so it turns the right side up and only then do we perceive it correctly. In other words, our eyes see things upside down and our brain turns them the right way. I cannot help imagining what would happen if our brain suddenly stopped doing that. We’ll see the whole world upside down, and would act on it accordingly only to be frustrated when our actions do not produce the desired results.

Thankfully that does not happen because Nature has designed our brains in a way that they perform this task by themselves. Unfortunately, this automatic functioning is limited to the physical objects we see with our eyes. As for everything else, it is up to us to use our brains and make sense of the upside down images. Since we are so reluctant to use our brains, isn’t it possible that we are just seeing everything wrong and no matter how hard we try we just cannot make our actions produce the desired results. If that is true, then the solution does not lie in racking our brains in frustration or working harder. The solution probably lies in starting to use our brains and get our perspectives straight. Everything else comes later.

KHHHTGHHH

Khhhtghhh is a guy living on a distant planet. The beings on that planet (which I am not naming since the information is strictly confidential and any public disclosure of the name might cause something that neither I nor anyone else on Earth is capable of understanding) had heard a lot about humans. They had been led to believe that humans were a wonderful creation, the best performance by God yet and naturally, this information led to a lot of curiosity among the inhabitants of the planet that I cannot name due to reasons quoted above.

So, Khhhtghhh thought up a plan, which basically comprised of sending a few of the inhabitants of the planet that I cannot name to Earth so that they could come back with vital data about humans, data that could help Khhhtghhh and others improve themselves and try to match the supremacy of the so-called human race. The only problem with the plan was that since Khhhgthhh or anyone else on the planet was totally unaware of these humans, they did not know how they would react to the presence of this group and whether there was any threat to the group’s lives from the humans.

After a lot of deliberation it was decided by Khhhtghhh that the only way to find the answer to all this was to send the group anyway. If they died, so be it. The first duty assigned to the group was to report on the reaction of the humans. One day after landing on Earth, the group sent this simple report (how I know of this report is even more confidential)

“Dear Khhhtghhh! Your fears are baseless. The humans are not equipped to see beyond three-dimensional objects, nor can they hear or feel beyond a certain limit, so we are completely safe. As far as our mission is concerned, we don’t expect a lot of success since these beings not only have limited senses, they are also arrogant enough to ignore a number of things that they can actually see. We do not see much chance of learning anything here.

P.S. We must thank the creator of this story here for showing a little imagination and naming you Khhhtghhh. Usual alien names are so clichéd. At least he realized that if there was life on another planet, it is highly improbable that they would have names that involve the same syllables or alphabets as humans. Till next report.”

 

Prepared surprises

We are not comfortable with randomness. We like patterns. And what are patterns, except a continuous repetition of the same order of things over long periods of time. We like them because we want to be prepared and patterns are predictable, thus making it easier to stay prepared for. Patterns don’t throw up surprises. That is human nature perhaps….to dislike surprise, since surprises expose our inner weakness and make us aware of how incredibly unsuited we are to tackle life.

But what if! What if there is no randomness. What if there is no infinity. What if what we see as random is actually a huge pattern, an order that is in fact repeating, but the range of variables that repeat themselves is too large for our limited vision to grasp and so we see only one tiny part of that pattern and obviously fail in finding the pattern in that tiny part. If that be true (and I don’t have any reason to prove that it isn’t) our inability to look at the pattern is forgivable but our insistence on the fact that there is no such pattern and that since we can’t find a pattern in the tiny part we do see, then it must be random, such false ego is unforgivable because it is stupid. And stupidity is probably the original (if not the only) sin.

What if! What if we let go of this childish urge to always be prepared? Honestly speaking, our preparation is also an illusion we love to hang on to, since life has this habit of pulling a fast one on us and frequently we feel the image of our so-called preparedness shatter to pieces. So what if we get comfortable with not being prepared? What if we start to understand, like and eventually look forward to surprises? Maybe then we’ll be able to see beyond the tiny portions. Maybe we will be able to see the pieces in the pattern, rather than looking for a pattern in the pieces.

 

Maybe then, we’ll see.

 

The OXCART PRINCIPLE

Not so long ago, when automobiles were not this common, oxcarts were a common sight. Especially in rural areas, carts pulled by strong oxen were the primary means of transporting huge amounts of agricultural produce to the nearest mill. Anyone who remembers having seen such scenes, would also remember having noticed that more often than not, there was a dog that walked right in front of the carts. To this day I am not sure of the job description of the dog but I clearly remember noticing that the dog walked with an unusual look of arrogance and pride. It seemed as if the dog thought that it was the one who was ensuring that the huge load got to its destination and the oxen, though doing all the hard work, were mere sideshows.

I look at the way business is done in the public and private sector today and am amused to see that the rules are the same, whether it’s a multinational organization, a government department or an oxcart. There are always oxen doing all the hard work and dogs showing all the arrogance and taking all the credit. Nahi?

Ten things you can learn from reading trucks

Forget all the Management Gurus, the Self-Help books, the motivational lectures….the fact is that if one is not serious, even divine revelation is useless, and where someone really wants to learn the most important lessons in life, they are more accessible than you imagine. Here are some pearls of wisdom you can get from the statements on backs of trucks. All you have to do is read beyond the apparent clichéd lines, keep your minds open and realize that they actually are all the lessons you ever required.

  1. The key to success is hard work, there are no short cuts. Any time spent in wondering how someone else got success is wasted which should have been spent working hard for your own aims. In other words, Mehnat Kar Hasad Na Kar.
  2. You will always face obstacles in your path. Remember that you have only two sensible choices, either you can rise above the challenges and overcome them or you can simply tolerate them and move on with your life. In other words, Pass kar Ya Bardasht Kar.
  3. Every individual has his or her own path in life. Don’t compare yourselves with others too much, make your own destiny, and let others get what their fate holds for them. In other words, Naseeb Apna Apna.. or Naseeb Paraghley Paraghley.
  4. Interact with as many people as you want but always remember to treat them well. Make friends with a smile, not enemies with arrogance. In other words, .magar pyar se.
  5. You will have to cross many competitors in the race of life. Always have confidence in your abilities and compete with them on a level playing field. Warn them before you try to get ahead, never sneak up and catch them unaware. In other words, Haaran de kar pass karein.
  6. Keep a positive attitude and concentrate on your own goals. If you spend your time plotting the downfall of others instead, you are bound to end up in disgrace. In other words, Jalney waley ka mun kala.
  7. Always wish others well. Harm to others will never benefit you. In other words, Khair naal Aa, Khair naal ja.
  8. Always think through any decision you make. Never act in a hurry and without thinking. In other words, Ik Wari Fair Soch Lai.
  9. However, do not spend too much time in unnecessary thinking, do not fear or worry too much about results. Such an attitude might reduce your chances of success. In other words, Sochi paya te banda gaya.
  10. Always remember that people who seem to be having a better time than you might not necessarily be better than you. In other words, Aqal na hovay te maujan ee maujan.