Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The concept called "God"

God helps those who help themselves - but if I am able to anyway help myself, why would I need 'God' to help me? Is it some kind of an add-on offer?

I need some external help which is not in my control only when I am not able to help myself, right? I don't know about others but at no point in my life have I seen any extra-ordinary help by a non-explainable source extended to me in any of the situations when I thought I needed one. I do believe in a power which is above all the human powers, but I believe very strongly that this power is a form of energy & it dwells within us. The closer we are to that power or the more we are able to strengthen that energy, the more extra-ordinary support we are able to get, but that is nothing unexplainable, I feel. The strength of this energy of course is very much directly proportional to the efforts that we put in. At least, in my case, nothing ever had worked out without me putting in immense efforts. I might have a wish, a dream - but I know my wishes, my dreams would come true only when I work towards them. (Or may be I don't have dreams that don't require me working!?!?!) I admit I put in 1000% efforts & don't leave any stone unturned as per my knowledge, (if there is a stone not in my knowledge I can't do anything about it though) & this energy falls for me. This is the only way I realize I can win, because I know if I don't put in efforts, there is nothing that would help me just like that. Sometimes I feel compassionate about myself - something that takes me mammoth sized efforts works for someone else very easily. That is mostly due to 'human' powers though as per my analysis :-)

There were days when I used to go to temple every single day (those were pretty bad days), & actually my belief in some 'power' existing within started from those amateurish attempts to answer the questions on why things were so bad & was there anyone or anything that could improve them! The only answer I could derive was, 'yes there is one who could improve & that is we ourselves, who is dealing with them.'

I do believe in past lives, the soul connections and so on & so forth. There are questions for which I do have answers to, basing all my beliefs on these concepts. But there are still questions for which I don't have answers to & I very strongly feel if there existed someone called or known as 'God', these questions would not have been there in the first place! I would definitely want to 'feel', if not 'see' this concept named 'God'.

I have seen people arguing if ghosts exist. My argument would be, at least about 'ghosts', we know cases where they have been felt, we know they are the souls of someone who existed sometime around us in this world itself & so there is more logic in believing that the soul is still around. But 'God' - I don't know what to say! Still more alarming for me is when someone says they believe 'God' & not ghosts.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Learning with Understanding?

A kid sees and notices a laptop before anything else these days (actually I saw this in 2006 when a 2.5 year old kid was learning alphabets on a laptop).

You ask the kid to write A, the kid says "there is no laptop, where & how can I write A?"

The kid then opens a laptop & presses the button 'A' to show the alphabet. Well, now, if I understand & follow a bit of psychology, the kid associates the alphabet 'A' to a key on the laptop/computer. He learns 'pressing' a key but not 'writing', would he learn the curves & will he be able to write the curves, for which purpose the entire cursive writing classes & what not are held!

With such high exposure to computers/laptops in such early years in a kid's life, say you ask the kid to add 2 numbers. He opens up an excel spreadsheet & puts in the 'SUM' formula & adds the two numbers for you.

The kid knows that 'adding' is '=SUM(___,___)'. But would he know the meaning of addition. What it means to 'add' two numbers? There is a very high possibility that he wouldn't know that!

Compare 2 kids - one who grew up burning all the midnight oil to learn each & every concept with complete understanding. And there is another who learns the other way - the 'typing' & the 'SUM' ways. Considering that ultimately the kid has to grow up & go into this corporate world, do the way the corporate world function these days, barring exceptions, need any real 'understanding'? My guess is 99% of the time, not! I am not sure if we have enough corporates who can distinguish between the two - may be in the initial job when freshers join, they may have IQ tests etc. but later on, it is only experience that is seen & this cumulative knowledge of 'SUM' & 'computers' dominates largely (100% of the time almost) :-)

The intellectual who burnt all the midnight oil & can be called a 'geek' in the widely used terminology, forms top 1%(?) of the lot, needed to burn the oil to get into the top 1% of the best schools, colleges, universities, institutions. But has this other kid been denied going to school, college or university or good jobs? In fact, I am afraid this one has many more options than the 'intellectual'. After all, 99% of all this 'geek' fraternity, after his stints in the top 1% of the educational institutions, has to go where? The same world as the other 99%?

So, the BIG question is 'Is there a need for one to know what 'addition' means if he knows 'SUM' function & knows how to compute it? Is there a need to know & understand what alphabets/words/phrases/sentences mean in language if one knows how to type?'

Friday, October 7, 2011

India...and the Internet!!

Out of the world's total population of about 7Bn, about 1.2Bn rests in India. And all the reported stats indicate that currently there are 100 Mn internet users in the country & many forecasts estimate that this number would grow up to thrice this number by 2015. I am one of those 100 Mn & I might also come in the top internet users in terms of the usage & kind of usage too may be. Y'day I found a half portion of a medicine strap at my home & just the last letter of the name was left out. I wanted to check if it is the one I was looking for. I searched on Google Images by the name I was checking the medicine to be, the first image got me there! I have my home expense reports as Google spreadsheets - is it too much of Google & not internet? Synonymous may be?

Last month I went to Jamshedpur, the city of Tatas, the pride & respect of the people there for the Tatas can't be more evident. I love the punch-line in the latest TV ad of Tata steel (Values stronger than steel!). We wanted to buy an LCD TV & we thought of gathering information. The first source had to be of course the internet. We searched for televisions, compared among brands, among models, among various technologies that have launched & are launching, and the prices. The best price we got for the model that we liked was Rs. X from the a very advanced (probably the leading) online seller of electronics. Fine, we trust the price, the brand, the quality, the model & so on.

But, we along with our parents wanted to check out the product in its physical look & shape. We went to the most famous dealer in the town there & I should say, I was very much impressed by the sales people there. I don't believe anyone can leave the store without buying a product, if they have gone with a reasonable purchase intention. We decided on the model & now comes the negotiation part as expected. The sales guy gave us a figure & he said, "once you finalize the model, we will reduce the price a bit more but please don't expect a lot", when we told him we really wanted to buy that product. We came back home, we had decided exactly which product to buy & we saw this online selling website again. The price that the sales guy quoted on which a little more discount was certain, was lesser than Rs. X by a significant amount. Now, if our parents buy the product online - they pay more, they have a 'psychological' fear about the safe delivery of the product, given that our confident use of internet overtakes the fear of the website not being authentic. Here in this deal, they went & physically saw the product, they knew this shop for years now, they had bought good number of electronics products from the store etc. We, being in the top bracket of the internet users in the country couldn't explain this ourselves.

This is the dilemna India lives with, when it comes to the internet. And while there is a 'latent' demand existing for just about everything in the country, there are areas where this distinction remains - but market exists for everyone - one should just be smart enough to be able to define the market correctly!