Saturday, February 12, 2005

Statutory Warning: A very long piece

I am working on a project with an Amru girl. She works for IBM and is a part time M.S student. While she was dropping me home, we had a conversation about alcohol. She was shocked to hear that I have never ever tasted alcohol in my life...(actually I lied...I had a glass of champagne....but I completely forgot about it.....). She then told me that she used to booze and party a lot like any other normal undergrad a coupluv years back. But, she got scared after graduating because she didn't know what to do next. She was working part time at restaurants and hotels and finally at some point she decided to pursue a masters and she kinduv stopped drinking.During her second semester she was offered a job by IBM. So working and studying keeps her very busy and if at all she has the time it is just for the occasional beer. She then told me of the days when she worked at a hotel where she had all the time in the world to do all kinds of stuff. It seems there were a lot of guys who used to smoke POT, so she desperately tried to like smoking POT :) in order to hang out with these "cool" guys. So no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't make herself to smoke POT. She quit her job after a couple of months and she considers that to be a turning point in her life. Because if she just continued working in that hotel she would have never thought of doing her Masters.Now, people this is what she had to say, and I do know of scores of intelligent people who drink, smoke and also know what their priorities in life are.
But, one thing that I had to agree with her is the fact that 'you force yourself to do things that you feel uncomfortable with just so that other people think highly of you or rather dont think lowly of you'. Do psychologists call this the acceptance syndrome....I guess another word for it is peer pressure. Why do people always feel the need to be accepted by the society. We have always given names to people who do not conform to what we perceive as the 'so called' normal way of living....nomads,gypsies,hippies...tribals. If they like to live in a hut with no electricity killing animals for food....let them do it. Do you really have to bring in the missionaries to educate them about God ( a concept which people debate about in the civilized world) and make them civil. Isn't that called intrusion of privacy. How would we feel if the tribals came into the city and tried to make us live their life.Thank God, we are a majority, I just cannot picture my self wearing a designer leaf skirt with a bow hungrily waiting for my meal of human kebab. And, I am sure they would feel out of place too. Just like the animals in circuses and zoos. I Saw a movie called employee of the month.....where the protaganist a highschool dropout who successfuly cons himself into a job as an investment banker with a big bank...he says something to this effect(forgot the exact dialogue) "I just saw this man on the street, with a good suit an amazing car.....I bet he would have had a great house and a beautiful wife.....then I just thought for a minute.......what would it take to become like him......thats when I decided to build a fake resume and apply for this job....I tried to become someone that I was not.....I have everything....just like that man on the street....but its not me....I am not happy". I thought that to be the only sensible thing in an otherwise crappy movie.
I guess you can term someone a failure only if he himself regrets about what he is doing for a living . If the guy enjoys his job as a mechanic then he has really made it big in life.I guess I borrowed this from thalai(read Rajini). I am not entirely happy with what I am doing now.....lessee if I can change that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks,I read your article, i am not able to accept it, If people start living the way they think it will be a jungle rule. Education is required for refinement, with education the thinking process is enhanced and man tries to work for higher goals whether it is spiritually or materialistically. U see that IBM friend of yours, if she cotinued working in that hotel now she would have been totally lost. At that
time drinking/smoking were giving happiness/pleasure. How long this happiness can be sustained ie what an intelligent man will look for. WE WANT HAPPINESS FOR EVER and that can be obtained only by good education, friends and family.


11:14 AM  
Blogger Sriramkrishnan said...

Dear Anonymous (Appa)

The problem with the world today is that most people have this notion of " I am right " and " you are wrong ". In a way, you seem to profess that when you declare that " Education is required for refinement ...." . However you fail to justify what education is, what refinement is etc etc.

You continue however to write that intelligence is required to look for happiness. Here I agree with you, But does education bring intelligence and consequently happiness?

Our modern materialistic society seems to offer "education" but is more of a process of indoctrination - I do not think it has made the world or us essentaiily better - becuase if that were so, we would not still be fighting wars and developing arsenals.

If you go by the stirct yardstick of happiness, I think you would agree that tribals and the so called uneducated (who lack the refinement you talk about) seem to be infinitely happier than the educated lot, many of whom are depressed, suicidal,on pills and essentiily dissatisfied with their lives.

Kind Regards


12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure you are extremely smart which is reflected by your writing skills. As the author of this article, I was perhaps a little too condescending with my reply. I was not aware of the fact that this would appear in a public forum. So, you are right. People with half baked opinions without any justifications cannot be called critics.
I tend to agree with you on 'does education bring intelligence and consequently happiness'...I have seen many people who lead a very contented life despite the fact that they have not sat inside a class room. Life teaches you quite a lot of things that class rooms don't and I consider this to be education too but of an informal kind. I would like to pose you a question. If you have a child will you put him/her in a school or would you patiently wait for the child to come to terms with life and decide on what he/she wants to do. Sriram, as a parent it was my duty to provide education to my kids, if I had listened to Kumar on the first day of school that he wanted to stay back home then he would have never had the opportunity to interact with intelligent people like you and a numerous others on this forum. Just because educated decision makers wage a war does not necessarily mean the motive behind formal education needs to be questioned. I am sure that schools in India do not teach the kids in India to hate Pakistan. Schools do not teach propaganda.Its Ego that gets in the way of educated people and clouds their thoughts, and makes them devise sinister plans.
I have not stayed with tribals to comment on whether they are truly happy.Being old, I cannot think of any other points to convince you. Bu I truly believe that an educated society is what we need today.


2:12 PM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

To be honest, I don't think anyone has an idea of how to achieve 'true happiness' - people don't even know how to describe it - they don't know what they mean when they say it. It is an idea without form.

We all place safe bets with 'literacy' - not education. It is patently obvious that the safest bet we have isn't any closer to delivering us happiness than is the worst bet.

Think about anything that you describe to be 'true happiness', and you will see that a lifelong extension of the same idea will be far from giving you happiness. In fact, it will lead to monotony. The one notion that really seems to pervade all notions of happiness is really 'change', which all our lives already possess. it is clear that we don't like that either.

the real problem seems to be with our ability to think. it is this property that creates problems, forces unhappiness. consciousness allows for a feeling of unhappiness.

the real answer to this problem of unhappiness is not in how we do what. it is in relinquishing our intelligence.

for those interested in more realistic answers, there are none. there will be a part of ur life that will be dissatisfying, the best you can do is accept it, and move on.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Sriramkrishnan said...

Dear Uncle

I hope you remember me. I have met you on 2 ocassions though for a short period of time in each case. I am honoured that you have thought me worthy enough for a reply.

I am young ( at least I feel young :). My experiences of life are limited and my opinions are extremely ideological and biased. My only feeling is that if we look into the history of the human race there has rarely been a period of peace and true happiness with or without formal education. To be fair the truly educated are the ones who have tried to change this at least in the last century. However the large population of those formally educated, especially in this day and age do not use their education for the benefit of their societies but as a tool of exploitation (which may bring them wealth and temporary happiness but the long term is questionable). This led me to question the premise that formal education is indeed the way to happiness.

I am sure I could be totally wrong. In fact your mail and reply have got me thinking for which I am greatful.



5:21 AM  

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