Monday, August 24, 2015

Earth takes a break

Earth is annoyed with its children.
She wants to take a break. Go travel to some other solar system for a change. Perhaps check out that Andromeda Galaxy. She has heard great things about it for ages. She never gets to travel anywhere. What with all the suckling fumbling good-for-nothing children of hers. Arrogant and up-to-no good.
She sighs. She shudders. She melts. She thunders.
No matter how hard she tries, nothing seems to get across to her children. She thinks, its a phase. The children will grow out of their teenage angst. The shut doors of perception will open some day. hopefully.

For now, it is getting too much to handle for her. She is taking a break.
Mars agrees to babysit.
People wake up to find they can't breath on mars.

the end.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Justince is an imaginary concept

The only reality is power.
and the powerful will always have more leverage with tools. No matter with what intention those tools were made - internet (democratising force), judicial system (equalizing force), democracy (equal voice)... all these tools ends up serving the rich and powerful.
 Take for instance the brutal massacres that Ranveer sena assholes kept on perpetrating killing hundreds of marginalised people - Dalits, Muslims, low-caste persons.




A decade on, the perpetrators have been declared innocent by high court citing such intelligent reasoning -
"When the killers came with intention to kill everybody, how the witnesses survived?" 
 The high caste judge reasoned that presence of witness is proof of the innocence! and if the killers had been efficient? then in absence of witnesses, killers would have been deemed innocent.
Heads I win, Tales you loose.
And the unstated rule of land will always remain 'Heads I win, tale you loose' with the ruling class. As long you are in the service of the system, you prosper. When you start becoming inconvenient, you are a liability that needs to be dealt with - either violence, intimidation, bureaucratic quagmire or pure and simple exclusion.
 
History is written by the ruling class. The ruling class keeps creating narratives of injustices that they face and they conquer against. Their heroes become everyone's heroes. Their demons become everyone's demons. Take Ramayana for example.
These narratives help keep a lid on real injustices. This massacre, like a hundred other massacres in India, never get the coverage that a mild traffic jam in Delhi would get. Because traffic jam in Delhi concerns the ruling class. Dying others does not.
It would be honest if the ruling class honestly says it out loud - these are others that we don't care about. But instead they will sing the song of unity and nationalism.

The nationalist forces such as RSS, BJP and even Congress are tools at the disposal of the rich to vanquish inconvenient voices and pacify the masses who might revolt against the injustice.

Dangerous ideas about caste, nationlism and convenience based imagined histories must die. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

The one ring to rule them all


The only truly successful meme of 21st century is that of 'Money'.

Successful because no other idea has been accepted with such unanimity as the idea of money. A paper with little value becomes fantastically valuable with a photo of Mahatma Gandhi. (or a fish or watch tower if you are from Norway.) And this transformation happens because humanity has collectively agreed to bestow imaginary value upon real substance. 

No other idea comes close to the level of acceptance that the idea of Money enjoys. More and more people identify themselves as atheists (so there goes religion). Not everyone believes in equality (the idea of caste refuses to die, The idea of class remains a reality. People are forever trying to find imaginary cues to set themselves favourably apart from the masses). The rise of ISIS and resurgence of Nazi sympathies tells us that idea of democracy and human rights are not as strong as we think they are.


Money is the one ring to rule them all. 
Ideas that serve the idea of money will prosper. Ideas that pose a threat to money, will be reduced to insignificance. Take the example of the idea of Human Rights. It will forever be an underdog: Little islands at the margins fighting the battle against bigger interests at the center. Ideas like these will never die (well, at least until humanity exists), but they will never assume center stage as well.

So what exactly is the idea of money? 
Essentially, it is a medium of transaction. From paper, plastic and now to bitcoins..  the concept is moving from material transaction to conceptual transaction. For the idea of money, a material person is not essential anymore. A virtual 'want' is enough.
Is it essentially convenience of transaction. Transaction between humans. So what does it mean for humanity? For it to be irrelevant materially, but relevant existentially in the age of virtual worlds?

Centrality of banks
No wonder, bankers are the highest paid mammals on the planet. They control the flow of money. They control the idea of money. And with globalisations and digitisation, banks are central to all human activity. Without them, the system as it currently stands, will fall down.

Power at the centre
The 0.1% of the human population controls the world. The one ring gives them all the power. To fight them, support alternate ideas of money.
 
An alternate Future is P2P
Bitcoins and other p2p mined virtual currencies operate outside the banking system. But how resilient is the idea of p2p transactions? The nascent system has had its share of troubles. But the idea seems to be inevitable.
If there is global centralised banking at the centre, then there must be P2P virtual money at the opposite pole. The future of money is bipolar. and we can't afford either of the systems to be too powerful.

The new science of economics
Economics as a subject to be studied is a fairly new idea. That tells you something crucial about money. This means that the momentum behind the idea of money is fairly new. With globalisation, money became important. Which means, it wasn't that important earlier. Which means, the idea of non money-centric life is not that far fetched. that there is a possibility of money to be reined in.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Reading ABCD 2 or why India will always remain an underdog.

ABCD 2 is dance movie with mediocre dance. And that tells you a lot about the film makers and what they think of their audience.
Made by celebrated choreographers with cult following, it is really disheartening to see them do a half-ass job at what they preach.The dances are not path-breaking or  original or even evocative. Most of the dancers do not give their 100% to the performance. You can see the lack of practice and energy in dances. The editor and cameraman do as much, if not more, movements as the dancers. Many Indian dance shows have better choreographed dances than this movie has. This is interesting because, the makers of this film are judges in at-least a few of those shows.
Why suck?

"Because everybody deserves a second chance." ad infinitum..  But this is the second movie in the franchisee. One expects that they would learn story telling by now at least? or does 100cr business is a reason enough for bad film making and lazy dance choreography? (for a movie that talks about dance as worship.) (The 100cr is guaranteed due to sharp rise of stock of dance in the cultural stock exchange of frenzies. Dance shows, like landslides, are crashing down on Indian television viewer's conscience with brutal regularity and occasional brilliance sprinkled over a bulk of drama that is extracted from the middle class's unresolvable angsts.)

Mediocrity as virtue
The film is a template story for such movies with added regressive elements that are characteristics of a typical prabhu deva film (patriarchy, undue patriotism, questionable moral resolutions).
Its an underdog story about a bunch of dancers from humble background reaching the finals of an international dance competition.
Indian stories for the last 60 years have been about successes 'in-spite of...'. We keep on eulogizing people who eschew strategy in favor of mindless subservience to a person. In this movie, it was a drunkard dancer, who for no good reason becomes the savior for dancers in questions. He steals from them, throws tantrums and is generally useless.. and yet they revere him. Apparently, that is somehow a good quality - to never question an authority figure and to play by his whims.

This shit is problematic because I have seen young talented people who waste their energies in singing praises for their 'idols' instead of strategically improving their performance. Big Dance Centre is one such place in Delhi. It is a terribly managed dance institute with teachers who have a fair bit of helium in their heads. I know of young people who have come from far off towns with great personal and material costs to learn dancing here. And in turn all they get is discouraging, discourteous behavior and middling quality of dance positioned as supreme art. This teaching is dangerous because it confuses, dispirits and weakens young individuals.

It is a cultural problem. Teacher of arts in India have mistaken idea about pedagogy. They think that their purpose is to browbeat a person into a certain other kind of person. That through brute 'discipline', 'deviant' students can be turned into pliant performers. Often these teachers are immature idiots who are high on the power they enjoy over younger individuals who come to them from a vulnerable place of trust and dream.
They get these ideas from movies like ABCD. In movies, students are always agency less empty shells. They are reacting machines whose instincts are dull. In movies, the guru shuts down the reactions and instincts altogether. He instead turns them into effective meme replicants.

Ideally, a teacher should enable agency for students - the ability to create, to decide, to see oneself more clearly. That means a teacher should be patient, she should be able to comprehend her student's energies and motives, she should be able to give useful feedback, she should be able to see possibilities for her student that the student can't see.
 
Instead in India we see glorification of 'guru' as a replicant manufacturer - a foreman who creates efficient cogs in the wheel. This strategy might be efficient for the purpose of making drones to be fed to the system - academia, military and such institutions. But certainly not for learning arts!

Bollywood has been needlessly glorifying the 'tradition of gurukul'. It is a shit tradition. It cloaks insecurities of incompetent 'gurus' under the garb of traditional 'respect'.

And this culture is at the root of Indians under-performing in almost all aspects of competitive performances - sports, arts, sciences... without a culture of equality, one cannot grow. Indian culture creates tiers out of thin air. It creates psychological barriers - about 'our place in the scheme of things'.
Without a culture of equal respect and open dialogue, there is no space for feedback and no visibility of possibilities.

All that this culture enables is a never ending supply of underdog stories.. of successes 'in spite of'.

Maypole, 1949


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Who does the system reward?

I feel that the system is rewarding me well with my career.  Primarily because my career is in advertising industry and as it turn out, advertising is one of the most important soldiers in service of globalisation. So, while seemingly inconsequential, my role is an integral (though small) cog among the many million small cogs that keep this system running. The system needs people who are capable of doing what is required of them. And I am capable enough.
Enough - The system only requires a very narrow skill set of mine. That is a small part of the arsenal of skill sets that a typical human requires to progress and thrive in life. I suck at breathing for example. I have terrible hand-eye co-ordination. I have hundred other deficiencies that I would much rather not share with my possible future employer.
It astounds me that for all my short comings and a few strengths, I earn way too much in comparison to people who are better humans that me.
I am lucky to have just the right narrow skill set that the system requires. It is a lottery of sorts, isn't it? The current system simply doesn't need farmers that badly, for example. (what with the future being that of machines any ways. the system won't need humans in a little while. so who cares for food security.)
 
However, here lies the trap. As people (like me) who are urban, educated and working in service of the global system prosper, we begin to think that the reward is in proportion to our intrinsic 'worth'. "I deserve this." 
 It is in our interest to believe so. This way we remain tied to the system and we are happy for it. It gives us our worth in liquid wealth and fast lifestyle.
This however translates in reality in opposition. So I earn so much and I am worth it, what about the poor who don't earn as much? maybe they are not worth it?
Consumerism unmoors us from reality and relations. This distance helps us normalise injustices and accept the system as ours. Identities fused, we are now soldier in service of the system.

System has succeeded in making us fight for higher and higher worth in liquid wealth. However, the same system doesn't part with the capital - the ownership of the means of earning - so easily. As a matter of fact, it will gladly pay out ridiculous sums of monies to buy out business - however good or bad they may be. (all .com acquisitions so far). The game is about long term control.

So for those who want to prosper, here's a question they should try to answer. Which ideas will the system reward?

1. Anything that aids consolidation of control over resources and people (social networks, physical infrastructures, media, *POs (KPOs, BPOs, bank back offices) and so on.)

2. Anything that transmits power and enables control (banks, private or public military and police, UN bodies, IMF and so on)

3. Opiums (Media Content, actual drugs, service industry) to make people and ideas more manageable.


The current system's goal is consolidation of control over resources and people. Here's a springboard for future gazing - for what purpose? or more accurately, what ideas will flow naturally from this control? What is bound to happen?