June 22, 2015

Dance of the Atoms

"The Great Wave off Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai
I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think. There are the rushing waves ... mountains of molecules, each stupidly minding its own business ... trillions apart ... yet forming white surf in unison.
Ages on ages ... before any eyes could see ... year after year ... thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? ... on a dead planet, with no life to entertain.
Never at rest ... tortured by energy ... wasted prodigiously by the sun ... poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar.
Deep in the sea, all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves ... and a new dance starts.
Growing in size and complexity ... living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein ... dancing a pattern ever more intricate.
Out of the cradle onto the dry land ... here it is standing ... atoms with consciousness ... matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea ... wonders at wondering ... I ... a universe of atoms ... an atom in the universe.
Richard Feynman in The Value of Science

June 13, 2015

Dissent and The Law of Numbers

One of the problems with a democratic form of governance is that the dissenting opinion requires to be backed up by law of numbers. That is, if you are comprising of the minority and have an opinion, then the majority's opinion is thrust upon you.

"Death of Socrates", Oil on canvas painting by Jacques-Louis David (1787)

So what do you do when you dissent against the majority. Revolution and coups, though a solution, are not to be espoused, as any violence(be physical or psychological) removes the sanctity of the system and causes further degradation.

Rather, holding onto the dissent and working on establishing the dissent with valid evidences, prototypes or a fully-fledged working solution would be a constructive form. We often see that dissents are often restricted to opinions alone, and are not followed up with the scientific rigour to productize the opinion. If you are a change-seeking-agent or an activist, rather than cribbing, complaining, shouting or holding the placards, getting to the crowd and sowing the seeds for the change would be a constructive form.

And if you are still not heard, then use the placards to showcase the solution.

And if you are still not heard, move on.

Contrary to the idea of dissent in democratic forms, in some organizations, there is a general principle of HIPPO - i.e, Highly Paid Person's Opinion :)

June 03, 2015

Book Review : Corrugated Slices : The Social Jalebi

(This book review was published in the BusinessWorld magazine dated 15-June-2015)

The Jalebi Trilogy gets its third and final book titled 'Corrugated Slices : The Social Jalebi'. Taking on the Jalebi as an anecdotal reference, the author Shombit Sengupta tries to juxtapose the jalebi's contortions and tortuosity with an European eye, that is, looking at Indian scheme of things and behaviour patterns with an European style of looking and observing.

The author's career started off sweeping floors for a few years and went onto run his own Company for many decades and the translation of these experiences is this trilogy. The unpredictability of the jalebi's contours is cross-referenced in every possible way with each and everything that the author observes or has experienced. Spread across many sections, with the author meandering from Shah Rukh Khan to civets, the reader is sometimes confused with the author's message. Though the book seems to be an easy read, the lack of a linear story-telling makes this otherwise scrumptious sugary delicacy unappealing and reader is seen trudging along the seamless interconnections.