Saturday, December 13, 2014

Getting older

After lots of delays, which have seen me experimenting like anything, with lots of new updates, I think I can finally settle down to sort out my thoughts and write a post.

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1) Its all about the Eye

So where are you looking when you are talking to a person? At their face? At one of their eyes? in both the eyes? at some random other place?

And what happens in the case that you are talking to a bunch of persons? Where do you look then? Do you get tied in to a particular member of the audience?

What about the case when you are moving around, say in a bus, and looking outside? How often does it happen that you start looking at the masses outside, barely aware that you have started staring at one person in particular unconsciously, and that comes to your notice only after that person looks back at you?

As a thought and social experiment, I have been trying to observe things around this behaviour, both mine, and that of people around me. Based on which, I have come up with the lock-in paradigm of eye contact.

By itself, lock-in is neither a good thing, nor a bad thing. But it can become either, depending on the situation.

Now, a normal conversation is carried most straight-forwardly when both the people are looking at each other. But the more meaningful and engaging ones happen, when people look into the eyes, and through them, to a hypothetical point somewhere at the literal back of the other person's head. When both persons so engage, you have a lock-in, and a lock-in is a pretty hard thing to break. After observing a lot of people, in different settings, I am inclined to believe that this is how two people in love almost always converse. And I have come to start believing, that this is how two persons who are usually at sync with each other talk.

Ever seen a presenter focusing on just one person throughout the presentation?  I think that is due to a lock-in. Like many things in life, a lock-in is self-reinforcing. The interesting part is that for most people, a lock-in is unconscious, that is they don't even know it is happening, they just know something clicked which they didn't understand. And that is where a good speaker outdoes the average one, they are good at limiting this unconscious ability and make its usage conscious.

In general, a good public speaker has his/her face towards the audience, but the eyes seldom rest on one person's face, least of all their eyes.

It is, I believe, for precisely the same reason, that a lot of passionate people are able to influence others, charge up their batteries, with words of passion.  All they need is a lock-in, and once you have it, you can count on it to reinforce your words into the mind of the other person. Its not that people use it at that level of consciousness, it is just another one of those many things that your brain can do in a short-circuit cycle.

The best technique that I've observed is to use a one-eyed lock-in. Look directly into one of the eyes, but keep your other eye looking elsewhere, so that you can break the train of your own thought. 

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2) Snap Calls and Edge of the world

There is a one-liner which goes like "If you are not living your life on the edge, you are taking too much space". 

Now Snap calls are good only when made in the right state of mind. The way I think of these snap calls, they are like short circuiting of zillions of logical parameters. While consciously trying to take a decision, sometimes the number of factors are so huge, that the brain gets overwhelmed, if the whole thing is thought of consciously. But if you could somehow take all the factors, churn them up, and get a guesstimate, you get yourself a snap call.

As for the generalizations, all generalizations have exception(s); A rule holds only as long it is accepted.

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03) Truths and Lies

This one is about some questions that have been doing the rounds in my mind:

Is it a lie if you say something, knowing that the other person will interpret it as something else entirely? Is the process of leading on a person, playing upon his nature to your advantage wrong?

Is it a lie if you say something, not knowing that the other person will interpret as something else entirely?

Is it a lie if you stay silent when someone asks you something, so that the person continues on ranting in his own state of mind, taking your silence in affirmative or negative as it suits him or her?

Is it a lie if you say something believing it to be True?

I guess what is the truth or a lie depends on much more than just a summary glance - it also depends on motivation and context.

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04) Exercises

The first is the art of focus. I have observed that when you tend to focus on just the task at hand, then you are able to go a little longer than if you allow stray thoughts to divert your thinking. And thus is born the first maxim: "Focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything all".

The second is a phrase inspired from book An Autobiography of a Yogi - "Karat, Karat, Ho Jaat". The above words by Lahiri Mahasaya, which roughly translated, would mean "keep doing, keep doing, and it gets done". Its similar to what they teach you at Vipassana - "Work patiently and persistently. Patiently and persistently. And you're bound to be successful. Bound to be successful."

And this is true in general in life - if you keep up at something persistently, and continue working on it no matter what your mind tells you, then all things remaining constant, you are going to be successful

The third is about concentration. A treadmill offers you an opportunity to focus on the numbers then and there, whereas on an open track the luxury is not available. Lesson learnt, "the mind is exceptionally good at losing focus if there is no immediate target to concentrate upon."

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05) Chaos and Order

Imagine this: No system, no matter how orderly built, will be free of chaos. It may not be visible, it may be hidden between the various layers of the system, but it will always be there. And the reverse is also true, no matter how chaotic a situation, there will always be a pattern, may be a micropattern at a tiny scale, that will be present.

If a system needs to be built, you need to identify those micropatterns, and create an order out of them in chaos. And if a system needs be broken, you need to identify those pockets of chaos, and inflict them upon the chains of the order.

Change is the only constant, but it is never mentioned whether it will create order or chaos

And ultimately, the question is not whether some thing can be built or be broken, the questions is, does the person who is driving them have a depth of conviction enough in his belief that they need to be done, which come to decide things.

Books read this year: 2014

Its been over three months since I last wrote a post here, and
one and a half months since I have been planning to write one.

After lots of delays, which have seen me experimenting like
anything, with lots of new updates, I think I can finally settle
down to sort out my thoughts and write a post: Books read this year.

One of my resolutions for this year was reading 100 books. I am
nowhere near that 100 mark, though I have crossed 80 so far, and
think I can manage another 2-3 by the end of December. Its been one
hell of a ride in terms of books read, lessons learnt (and
forgotten).

What started me on the book reading path had been reading the
Inheritance cycle last year. Continuing on the same theme, I had
decided on reading up some of the more read fiction and fantasy
novels. And I managed to wrap off some of the series I have
wanted to. They include the Lord of The Rings and the Middle
East Saga, the Harry Potter series, the Drenai Saga, and the Wheel
of Time Series. And I must say, having read epics like the Wheel of
Time, which spans over some 12000 pages with 15 novels in it, I
find most of the other fiction works I now read child's work. It
literally feels like reading your old school text books once you
have graduated from the college.

It doesn't surprise me therefore, how the purists and the literary
critics try to tear down every other novel they have read, giving
reviews which the general masses hardly understand. I mean, once
you have spent ages reading Shakespeare and other such classical
books, which have enamored their readers for centuries now, how can
anything other than other works that equal a masterpiece get the
praise that is due to it. Of course, the reverse is not true; Just
because someone always writes scathing reviews doesn't mean they
know a lot, now do they?
But that is not the purpose of this point, the purpose is to
capture the books that I managed to read this year, so here goes
the complete list

  • Percy Jackson Series - The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson Series - The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson Series - The Titan's Curse - Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson Series - The Battle of the Labyrinth - Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson Series - The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson Series - The Demigod Files - Rick Riordan
  • Middle Earth Series - The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Middle Earth Series - The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Arctic Incident- Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Eternity Code - Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Opal Deception - Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Lost Colony - Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Time Paradox - Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Atlantis Complex - Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl Series - Artemis Fowl: Last Guardian - Eoin Colfer
  • The Rosabal Line - Ashiwn Sanghi
  • The Accidental Prime Minister - Sanjay Baru
  • Lean Startup - Eric Lies
  • The Third Eye - T. Lobsang Rampa
  • The Day I stopped drinking milk - Sudha Murthy
  • The Oath of the Vayuputras - Amish Tripathi
  • The Drenai Series - Legend - David Gemmell
  • The Drenai Series - Waylander - David Gemmell
  • The Drenai Series - The King Beyond The Gate - David Gemmell
  • The Drenai Series - The First Chronicles of Druss - David Gemmell
  • The Drenai Series - Druss - David Gemmell
  • The Drenai Series - White Wolf - David Gemmell
  • The Drenai Series - The Swords of Night and Day - David Gemmell
  • Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
  • American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  • Only The Paranoid Survive - Andy Grove
  • Nine Parts of Desire - Geraldine Brooks
  • I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai
  • iWoz - Steve Wozniack
  • Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Idea Man - Paul Allen
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 00 - New Spring - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 01 - The Eye Of The World - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 02 - The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 03 - The Dragon Reborn - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 04 - The Shadow Rising - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 05 - The Fires of Heaven - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 06 - Lord of Chaos - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 07 - A Crown of Swords - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 08 - The Path of Daggers - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 09 - Winter's Heart - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 10 - Crossroads of Twilight - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 11 - Knife of Dreams - Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 12 - The Gathering Storm - Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 13 - Towers of Midnight - Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan
  • The Wheel Of Time Series - Book 14 - A Memory of Light - Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan
  • Calico Joe - John Grisham
  • Star Dust - Neil Gaiman
  • Better - Atul Gawande
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K.  Rowling
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K.  Rowling
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K.  Rowling
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter Series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling
  • The Drenai Series - Waylander II: In the realm of the Wolf - David Gemmell
  • The Game Changers -  Alok Kothari, Rahul Kumar and Yuvnesh Modi
  • The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Unbreakable - M. C. Mary Kom
  • Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramhans Yogananda
  • Made In America - Sam Walton
  • Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh

Now many of these books and series deserves a post in itself, and I
wish I had the time to write about each of them, but I guess then I
will spend the rest of my days this year just finishing up this
post.

All I can say is, all those books have left behind a lot of crazy
ideas, and for once and all, I think I no longer have any regret
for not having read them earlier.