Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is ignorance a form of Poverty?

"Dearth of wisdom is dire destitution. Other forms of poverty the world deems are less impoverishing." So said a great thinker 2000 years ago. This led me think if Ignorance is indeed a form of poverty as is being thought. Defining to start ignorance itself maybe a first step to address this issue I thought. Contrary to popular myth "Ignorance is bliss" I start with a simple definition "Ignorance is diminished learning of mind due to sheer laziness to seek knowledge".
What can be the consequence of ignorance...suffering of different degrees for sure. The bad part of ignorance will be self inflicted suffering.
Comfort of ignorance is quite compelling as for example if we see people moving out of conversations they think is too high level for them-it is because they think this is not a topic for some small talk. The best part is half knowledge people are the ones who are most verbose which makes another problem-is half knowledge also a form a ignorance. Answer is maybe but it is better than who have no clue. I think the amount of non prescription drugs sold over the counter is maximum in countries like India and there is 20% chance that there are some unwanted side effects as the buyers act as though they are doctors. But there is 80% chance they avoided a visit to doctors and saved both money/time. Though some doctors will sternly object I don't see a big problem here, if ethically the half knowledgeable Pharmacist is having no problems dispensing the medicines to the self styled doctor customers.
Internet gives a good opportunity to learn...however most of us get diverted to trivial non related topics as we search. How much to learn, what to learn is entirely upto motivation of individuals but if we are not making a conscious effort to learn we are feeding ignorance is something we should recognize. With elections in India everyone knows there will be a multiparty government but this does not change behaviours of voters...therefore if Politicians believe that stable, one party is a strong point they are living in a world of ignorance.
If someone believes that after killing of Prabhakaran Srilanka will become nice to Tamils and Tamils will accept their second class citizen status to live on-they also live in ignorance.
Ignorance does ofcourse help to reduce stress in several cases but this is a temporary relief as I think Ignorance is Sin and will catch up with the sinners following the circle of life.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The dangers of YES MEN!

Career path of leaders always has a phase where there are tough decisions to be made. One of the decision is between Loyalty and Quality. Not very explicit in several cases as a lot of time personal attachment to followers do happen to leaders. Similar attachment happens with co-leaders.
This attachment is very important in a lot of ways as it helps to build trust and communicate consistently across different strata of organization. However a leader does face the dilemma at sometime-to make a decision to axe a loyal follower as his performance is not shaping up to current requirements or he is the bottleneck in change without he realizing it.
There are some people who ask me "This maybe true long time ago when people had their job from college to retirement and loyalty with companies was a valued asset. Today people move across so many jobs within career. So this dilemma does not occur as personal attachment rarely develops. Most of it is professional attachment". For sure this is true. However when a Leader after reaching a particular level starts to move around will also try to take his loyal followers from other companies with him with a promise of better career, taking care etc. This creates more responsibility on the leaders and this is a form of attachment which still thrives.
To be clearer it is not bad to have some people who are adapted to your style and with right competence with you. But the danger is if after a few years they are able to predict you exactly and become YES MEN. When two people think alike then one of them is redundant is an aggressive posture in driving innovation. Thinking alike is just one part of the problem. The bigger problem is when others start to perceive the special treatment to the follower whom they implicitly start to think is the successor...then there is a negative halo effect happens. There are usually three aspects of any job-routine, tactical and strategic. Depending on the quality of YES MEN they completely say (even if they don't complete believe) whatever leader thinks is right in strategic and tactical aspects. In fact they praise his vision more often than others. The smiling face of the leader (as everybody likes praise) encourages them to enforce their own controls in routine/administrative aspects which will make them indispensable. This where the leader usually is blind as he thinks overall alignment has happened and is going the right way. YES MEN are more dangerous when they start using the leaders name more often to show to the organization(some pick up the phones in a meeting and talk to the leader implicitly trying to clarify something but explicitly to send a message of closeness to the middle level managers) that there is some extra powers he has.
The dangers of YES MEN don't become apparent till there are more than 3. But even one thorn when not trimmed can hurt the leader's credibility. It surely helps to have political strength by having YES MEN but if it starts crossing the professional boundary then it is time for action.

What is Philosophy?

Paradox exists in every civilization and there are a few who try to rationalize this, a few who try to change paradoxes, a few who are not aware or don't care of these as they are busy with their own priorities. For example belief in Fate is an Eastern Philosophy (some limit it to say it is a Hindu philosophy...this is not correct). Fate rationalizes a lot of paradoxes (a cruel man lives a royal life, a good man a miserable life etc). When I was in China I met a guy who told me " Belief in fate makes people happy eventhough they have very see more genuinely smiling faces in East than West though poverty is higher in East". On the very same day I met another person who said" Belief in fate is the reason for people not following rules (driving rash etc) resulting in higher deaths due to accidents etc in East". I am sure there are several other views to this. But this led to the question What is Philosophy?
Like Science does philosophy try to explain something with a logic that stands in all time, generations and cultures? Or does it evolve with time and understanding of diversities? Where does it start and where does it end? Being religious is a way to understand Philosophy or being an atheist is a better way? Trying to classify something and putting into a Pigeon hole is a very simplistic way to approach philosophy as unlike several other fields of education a true philosopher does not want a degree to pursue this field. It is in human nature to decipher the call of the soul-which occurs in different degrees to different people. I get disturbed when people use this jargon "Management Philosophy". Philosophy is about free flow of knowledge, it is about freedom to think without boundaries and looking at inclusivity in exclusivity. It is not about standardization. One of the earliest failed experiment in this happened when Emperor Akbar tried to extract the best of all religions and tried to create a new religion emcompassing all (naming it Deen-I-Lahi). Standardization was key to his drive. Innovation as it was in Management terms as it was reflecting his Management Philosophy...but alas he was the only follower of this. Therefore to look at Philosophy as a packaged item or branding solution is too naive.
Philosophy to me is an ever expanding knowledge base which may synchronize with your earlier experiences or challenge them but makes your mind able to ask the right questions. Hardening your stand towards a fixed philosophy stops you from being a student of philosophy. There are a motley of thoughts from yesterday and today. They individually and together make sense. There will be more diverse thoughts tomorrow. They should add to what we know today. If we take this approach and are able to synchronize them then we continue to be students of philosophy. A believer in God, religion or an atheist can all be philosophers of same intensity. This is part of Universal Truth and rarely do we realize that we are the stumbling blocks to learning as we blame everything else possible in a difficult situation. When we are in a happy situation where is the time to think about learning.

About Me

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Gothenburg, Sweden
Still finding introspecting to find who am I? Waiting for a Guru!