The death of dilligence or how we like to believe!

I am – or I think I am – an independent soul – the kind of a human that has thoughts often not plastered, cut and pasted; provincially limited; of what is at that time the  ‘Zeitgeist’ – originally a German expression that means "the spirit (Geist) of the times (Zeit)". That’s a word that denotes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era.The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romantics, but is best known in relation to Hegel’s philosophy of history. Ho hum for that! You could say I am a contrarian – yo baby the guy who goes left when all go right – thinking that there in be liberation from a culture of group think and a way out of – perhaps of the swamp of mediocrity that flesh is heir to ?
 
 
Andy Warhol was a  artist and gave us the concept I believe of the ’15 seconds of fame’. Andy having immortalised in his lifetime a can of American factory made soup (Campbell’s) into true and widely feted art had this epiphany I assume as he ‘designed’ his art screen printing as he used to. He started what I would call an heraldry into the  democratisiation of media. Today an American urban legend You Tube since swalloed by big bucks is exactly that – your personal 15 mins of fame?!!!! Just remember to say something smart when that spotlight’s on you so that the search engine guys can publicise/optmise  your doo hikey for the best possible results! But then again this democratisation of the media is also often termed ‘dumbing down’. I bet Andy would have liked that!
 
Somewhere along the line – people have just kind of stopped thinking things over. The power of the rumour reigns over life. At India we have had quite a few and my personal favourite was when the water at Mahim Creek, Mumbai – otherwise recognised as polluted and filthy – turning sweet!The power of media and the television to be not forgotten; I at least saw distinct video fotage of people in joyous abandon drinking water from what looked like a really dirty pond. The voice over said ‘Mahim Creek and the little scripts at the bottom of the screen also said Mahim Creek and I nearly threw up when the images of Mahim Creek – a place I have often passed in my life flashed through my head. And then I remembered that fairy tale – the emperor’s new clothes. No wonder!! I guess the kids in our town have all grown up and there really is no one to tell anyone that perhaps what you believe as true is perhaps not? No one today questions the status quo any longer and those that do – are often found dead in elevators as the Russian journalist in Moscow a few weeks back or that ex KGB spy that died in a London Hospital of a poison so fatal and strange that they yet know not what?
 
The dangers of ‘group think’ and the manipulative nature of people of importance was very nicely studied and explained during America’s militray intervention in  Vietnam. Today the same people in different bodies perhaps pull on us a charade and call it democracy for Iraq. There is one world view and that is  the world view of the people that matter and that is the only one. People like to believe and in times of extreme stress as the world has often seen – a good (fairy) tale is often what everyone really likes to take in. Management science (or art) has many such tales and my favourite is Tom Peters tale in ‘Search of Excellence’. For 20 long years till November 2001 – this was a by word of what managers had to do – written as it was by apparently great thinkers from McKinsey – that great firm. And then oneday a magazine ‘outted’ them. The data in that book it seems now was falsified – but hey we all like a good story do we not? In Tom’s own words (though he did refute it later) ‘…..In Search of Excellence was an afterthought, the runt of the McKinsey consulting litter, a hip-pocket project that was never supposed to amount to much. That’s my first confession, and it’s the truth.Of course, there’s an official way that I tell the story now — and it’s total bullshit. The way I tell it now is, "Americans were under attack by the Japanese, who were making good automobiles. So Bob Waterman and I set out to discover the real secrets of management." Usually when I tell that version of the story, I try to use my imitation voice-of-God way of speaking to convey the impression that what we set out to do was Very Important……’. The truth came out 20 years later that most of the data was in fact falsified!
 
The fact is that people knew they were bull shitting – it did not take long for the companies that they profiled to meet their demise and perhaps put a question on what Tom and Bob (Messers Tom Peters and Robert Waterman – the authors) had espoused – but like I said – we like to believe and there in lies the rub – for what may one believe if one gets the chance? Everyone out there is looking for a panacea – why do all that hard work and actually find out what it takes – when there are prophets and oracles telling us what is the truth – or what they think is the truth. And we like to believe and there in is the death of dilligence – it is a lot like the stock market – people love to believe! To quote Gnarls Barkley – a hip hop musician duo ‘……My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb; And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them; Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun; And it’s no coincidence I’ve come; And I can die when I’m done; Maybe I’m crazy, Maybe you’re crazy; Maybe we’re crazy; Probably….Uh, uh….…I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind; There was something so pleasant about that place.Even your emotions had an echo; In so much space; And when you’re out there; Without care,Yeah, I was out of touch; But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough; I just knew too much….’
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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