Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shared dreams?

"Where do you want to go, uncle?", asked my three year old nephew.
"M G Road", I said.  His tricycle was the make believe auto-rickshaw.  He took me around in Bangalore and even to Mysore.

He had created an environment and I agreed to stay in that environment.  To us, the blue tricycle was the black auto-rickshaw and the car park was all of Bangalore.

[Small digression: When I narrated this to my son, he corrected me.  It is not the environment we shared, but the experience or a dream.  So, is the title.]

On a larger, real life scale, we have agreed on everything, I mean everything.  Without that agreement, one won't make sense to the other.

Fire is fire for all of us, the experiences are visions of light, sensation of heat etc.  Before  man tamed fire, the agreed interpretation of fire could be that of a dreadful monster that burns.

There are millions of things that we have unconsciously agreed upon to live as a society.  The communication would break if the agreement wasn't there.  Remember the movie - 'The Gods must be crazy' where a bushmen try to interpret a coke bottle.

What if in one fine morning, we stop recognizing an object?  What if we stop sharing the dream? That would be an interesting ... or bizarre?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Two views

My recent interaction with colleagues and relations of my age pointed at a popular view of their worlds.  My personal experience and a recent interview by writer Jayamohan pointed to another less popular view of the world.  This article is a summary of my observations.  It may not be humanly possible to switch from one view to another.  The view is probably hard-wired in everyone's brain.  I hope that just being aware of the other view might help in relationships.

Three of my recent long conversations were with people in corporate world.  They viewed their role as a fighter in a war.  They strategised, analyzed their own strengths and weaknesses, analyzed their opponents strength and weaknesses.  A victory is well defined for them - "If I have my way, I win; otherwise I lose.". This view is applied in every relationship - between vendor and customer, employer-employee, boss-subordinate, interviewer-interviewee etc.  I don't know enough about their family life to include their relationships with spouses, parents and kids.  The generalization is - they are on a war in every situation; there is an "I" and the "other".  The "I" should work hard to win over the other.

I have a different view of the world.  There is a huge system in which the "I" have a role to play - like a gear in a machinery.  Nothing more.  The system functions as long as the gear performs fine.  There is no victory or defeat.  If the gear fails, the system fails.  It might resume by replacing one gear with another.  There are situations where one as an individual tries to fit in a larger system - say an organization.  An interview or an interaction is just an attempt to fit the gear in the machinery.  There is no personal victory or a loss.  The same holds good in a vendor-customer, employer-employee relationships.  The relationship attempts to be useful by having two mutually beneficial people.

The advantage of my view of the world is - there is no war - more importantly there are no losers.  If a relationship breaks apart, it just means that the two gears do not work together, not that one gear won and the other lost.

I believe good systems survived longer because a larger members shared the gear-view of the world and many organizations failed because of a war view within its people.

I also realized that, it is simply not possible to switch views, especially for intelligent hard-working people.  So, I stop at a blogging about it instead of preaching my view and try to have "my way" accepted by others.