Oct 28, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION


Education is a sacred word which initiates the process of learning and educating one’s mind. It develops the power of reasoning, empowers a person to be articulate by channelizing and dressing up thoughts. It provides tools and techniques to choose words for oral presentations. A person acquires a body of knowledge in the process of being educated. It provides an enlightening experience and in the process dispels the darkness of the mind. It has the divine touch which changes ones perspective of life the way one thinks and acts in their daily lives.  It activates the sense of inquisitiveness to satisfy reasons behind happenings around us. The process of education creates a library system in the brain for retrieving the information as and when required. Education provides ability to analyzing in logical ways and finding methods of rationalizing illogical thoughts. It also enhances the analytical capacity of the brain.

Modern Computer and our brain:
If we define the process of education in modern computer language then it means that the fields or areas of study are software which we programme in a hard disk that is our brain. Therefore the response of the brain depends upon the software loaded in our brain. This software’s keep running into the file systems made of neurons and axons. The way a computer cannot respond to our request if the particular file is not present in the system, the same way we are ignorant of the knowledge of a particular area which we have not studied.  The sharing of knowledge between different file systems provides us the power of logical reasoning and in order to do so, related files must be present in our library system made of neurons. A file or information stored in our brain cannot be retrieved in time, if the registry or the information’s stored in neurons are corrupt and needs recovery or defragmentation by way channelizing thoughts and upgrading the process of thinking.

Now the process of programming our brain and creating different file systems depend upon the schools and universities we attend to acquire the knowledge. Every school or group of schools or universities are different in the world. The subject may be the same but the method of teaching and imparting knowledge may vary. It also depends on which educational system puts emphasis on which part of the knowledge. In turn our nature and behaviour is also programmed according to the purpose and programme of the schools. If it has the purpose to promote social or moral values or scientific advancements or vocational training's or religious teachings then the entire curriculum is influenced to suit the knowledge. If the purpose is to promote hatred or universal brotherhood then the mind gets programmed accordingly. By the time one reaches high school their brain is already programmed as per the standard, or curriculum or purpose of the school. The environment in which we live also makes substantial impact in the programming of our brain.

Education System:
Once a person goes to university then the areas of specialization starts and the person gets the certification in those areas of education. In turn the person becomes an expert in that particular subject. Upon further pursuing of study or specialization by doing research a person becomes an expert in a specific area of the research and is awarded a doctorate degree.  Since a doctorate degree or other professional degrees emphasises specialization in that particular field for the purpose of getting a job or earning a livelihood depending upon the demand and supply, it may be presumed that a person is void of other areas of knowledge important for knowing the world and the self.

Furthermore, even after acquiring knowledge of highest degree, if the effect of the knowledge is not visible in the person’s personality, action and behaviour then the person may be knowledgeable book wise but foolish otherwise. He or she remains uneducated as far as the development of the mind is concerned. The purpose of education is to change one’s nature, behaviour and perspective of life. It must change radically the way a person thinks. After acquiring masters or doctorate degrees, if people at large remain conservative, prejudiced, chauvinist, radical, hypocritical, fundamentalist, fanatics, unfair, unjust, unreasonable, opinionated, judgmental and intolerant and have other ills such as anger, ego, jealousy, hatred and behavioral problems, then I think they are still illiterate and they have studied books of a particular subject to obtain degree only or for the purpose of name, fame or money.

The purpose of education:
The purpose of education is not only to earn a livelihood but to educate the mind to the extent that it helps people understand complexities of the world and analyze their own true nature for further improvement. It makes a person more humane, compassionate, affectionate, tolerant, understanding, open minded, supportive, adjustable, unselfish, unbiased, giving, caring and benevolent. Besides knowledge of the subject, truly educated people develop the ability to control their ego, anger, hatred and jealousy. These people can understand reasons of their being in this world; they are humble, down to earth and their nature becomes mellow. They will never brag or showcase themselves. If these qualities are not visible even after acquiring a masters or doctorate degree, then the person may be educated from the worldly point of view but may remain uneducated from the personification point of view. 

Education should change people's outlook and how they perceive the world. Their perspicacity of the world and fellow human beings should set them apart between an educated and non educated being. However I have also seen enlightened people having no school or university degrees. My premise behind the above statement is based on my belief that generally people acquire knowledge or degrees only to earn livelihood and not to educate and take their mind to higher levels. An educated mind must have a control on human ills and weaknesses. Majority of uneducated people have less control on their emotions and behaviour and that is the reason of hostility between the people and nations around the world. And if these hostile characteristics or radical thinking is still there even after getting the doctorate degree then it has been a total waste of the education system and defies the purpose of education.

Types of knowledge:
Therefore knowledge or education can be divided into two parts:

  1. Outer World Knowledge: Knowing the outside world together with particular subject or subjects and specialize in that subject in order to earn a livelihood.
Personal interest, demand and supply, or market economics dictates the selection of a program or vocational course. Generally every faculty of study is measured in terms of financial returns. If after the graduation one cannot get a job then the education has no value. Therefore the purpose of education revolves around the degree of financial or social success and it may be divided into the following categories:

  1. Specialization in a particular subject in order to profess (teachers, professors, mentors, trainers etc)
  2. Specialization in a particular vocation to practice (lawyers, doctors, engineers, business, management, experts, specialists etc)
  3. Specialization in a particular area of science or arts to profess or practice (researchers, scientists, music, dance, drama, theater, skilled persons etc)
Hence the entire gambit of education revolves around becoming something so that one can become socially or financially successful or learn something so that people can understand the ways of the world and survive. The entire focus is worldly and outward.

  1. Inner World Knowledge: Knowing the self, who we are and looking deep inside ourselves in order to realize truth of the life while having a control on our temperament, ego, emotions and behaviour for making us a better human being.
Difference between the outer and inner world knowledge:
Our education system teaches us how to survive in this world and to know and understand the outside world which we perceive from our five senses, whereas, the knowledge of inner world empowers us to look within our mind and enjoy the spiritual experiences of life. The outer world knowledge provides us the understanding of the surrounding environment whereas the inner world knowledge provides us the understanding of our inherent nature. The application of outside world knowledge is full with stress, anxiety and loss of peace whereas the application of inner world knowledge provides a state of tranquility, calmness and peacefulness. The outcome of the outer world knowledge is temporary or lasts until that particular knowledge or vocation is in demand whereas the inner world knowledge is everlasting. The capacity of the outer world knowledge is limited and it becomes obsolete with the time or becomes useless once a person retires from the job or active social life whereas the inner world knowledge remains with the person and makes the path of salvation clearer and stronger as the time passes.

One may argue that the knowledge of inner world cannot provide us meals or means for survival. That is why I have emphasized the importance of true or real education so that while getting outer world knowledge, one can explore the inner horizon to fine tune their nature and behaviour to make them a person of excellence. Without this any amount of worldly education will not make a person kind, tolerant and understanding.

Subject Matter Expert vs. Educated Person:
Generally people get confused between a subject matter expert and an educated person. A subject matter expert is an expert in that particular area of knowledge whereas he or she may be absolutely blank in other areas of knowledge vital for understanding the world and the environment in which we live. For example, I had a chance to discuss the subjects of Para normal activities or subjects which falls under the purview of the meta-physics or chirology or astrological science with several educated and socially successful people. I never studied these subjects in schools or university but my inquisitiveness in knowing the world led me to make some research. To my dismay their answer has been that they do not believe. By not having a belief does not write-off the fact that these areas of study or faculty of science do exists.  It is their ignorance that they have not studied and out of their ego or vanity they do not want to accept their existence. Unless people are inquisitive enough and have interests in studying other areas of knowledge and taking their mind to higher levels than the levels of knowing their own vocation only, it would be difficult to presume that people have sufficiently tried to educate themselves.


The role of educational institutions:
My belief on the above reasoning is further fortified due to the lack of proper education system. Majority of schools and universities including the top ones are focused on teaching students basic or specialized information about outer world knowledge. Very few of them teach how to look within; how to improve or fine tune personal nature and behaviour to develop humanely qualities and how to overcome greed, jealousy, indifference, anger, hatred and selfishness. This is the reason that even after having a masters, PHD degree or gold medal, people working at high places including government departments, public and private sectors, have no control on their greed and unsolicited desire. Many of the so called educated people or degree holders on high positions around the world are rampantly indulged in corruption, nepotism, racism and favoritism without caring for human values.

The Oxford dictionary defines education as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university: a course of education, an enlightening experience, a body of knowledge while being educated.

Therefore to sum up, if the process of education could not bring the enlightening experience and the body of knowledge does not include knowing the self and intricate sciences which makes a dominant impact on our lives and if our minds do not go to higher levels by shunning ego, anger, hatred and jealousy and if we do not become humble, down to earth, free of all biasness, loving, compassionate and understanding then an enlightening experience has not taken place and our body of knowledge is also incomplete. Therefore I would categorize ourselves as uneducated degree holders.

I look forward to your valuable comments for further enlightenment of our minds on the subject.

Suman Saran Sinha, CMC
A pursuer of logical quest

Sep 17, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF GOODNESS

In order to remove fallacy about goodness or being good, I have tried to extricate the notion of being good and how it affects our lives if we are good or are trying to be good. I am inspired to write on this topic by a book written by Gurucharan Das called ‘The difficulty of being good’. It is a great book and its central theme of goodness revolves around different characters of the famous Indian epic called ‘Mahabharata’. So far I have not read the book and whatever I have heard from my wife in bits and pieces has helped me in conceptualizing the notion of being good with an idea of analyzing goodness and what goodness means to me in our day to day lives. My analysis is based on my own philosophy and logical reasoning on the topic and it has nothing to do with the book written by Gurucharan Das or any of the characters in his book.

To understand the goodness we will have to ask ourselves what goodness means to us. Is goodness an inborn quality of human beings or does a person become good due to their surrounding environment? If we are good in nature or behaviour or in contrary then what difference does it make in our lives? Does goodness pay off? Do people take advantage of goodness? Is there any correlation between goodness and cleverness? Can we survive in this world being good and not being clever? How do we differentiate between natural goodness and pretentious goodness? Do people become good by going to university or learning books of knowledge or by going to religious places or are they born good nature?

Goodness is the quality of a person and being good is the outcome of such qualities which differentiates between the acts of kindness and gentleness. A person can show the sign of kindness or gentleness apparently but may not be a good person by nature. An act of kindness and gentleness is a part of our emotional outburst which may be enacted due to the spur of a moment or in specific circumstances. It may be temporal in nature whereas if a person is good in nature then kindness and gentleness will become an inseparable part of the personality. The quality of goodness will remain with person in all times to come. 
Goodness is not a measure which will fluctuate with the time, mood or circumstances. It is a constant which never changes. It is also a quality with which a person is bestowed upon. It is a state of mind which provides a person with calmness, tranquility and positive thoughts in every circumstance to act or behave in a manner which is filled with understanding, forgiveness, compassion, tolerance and kindness. In fact these are the key attributes of goodness. Person having the quality of goodness reflects virtues, piety and moral excellence. This is the reason that Jesus at the time of being crucified, instead of cursing the perpetrators, was filled with empathy and forgiveness and prayed for taking their sin upon him.

Mahatma Gandhi knew very well that goodness always pays and can move the strongest empire on earth, as such instead of revolting with anger and revenge or taking upon arms, he responded to the British Empire with his goodness, tolerance, forgiveness and piety which became an example in the world.

A person, who does not have these inherent qualities and tries to become good or behave like a good person by force, will soon be unable to pretend and their true nature will become visible sooner or later or the act of goodness fades away with the mood and time. There are examples when bad people have become good, cruelty has subsided and they have started behaving like good people due to the awakening of inner knowledge or happening of extra ordinary experiences in their lives. Bad people also change with time if the seed of goodness is present in their personality. Often it takes time for the seeds of goodness to sprout and till then a person is void of this divine quality.

I have seen people going to religious places sincerely or listening to lectures on higher knowledge or reading books for their spiritual awakening. They become religious or spiritual or philosophical for the time being and then as time passes they go back to their original or true selves like elastic. Since the feelings of being good are not the original nature of the person, a veil of serenity is temporarily created around their personality due to the surge of emotions. And once the surge subsides they go back to their true selves.

Most of us have certain nature as part of our mental make-up which influences us to become temperamental, emotional, rude, arrogant, egoist, or to become jealous, introverted or extroverted etc. These qualities create a conflict with the attributes of goodness.  As mentioned earlier, emotion may make a person kind and generous but as the emotion subsides people go back to their true selves good or bad, kind or unkind, generous or miser.  These people even if they try hard, their original nature will keep surfacing or will keep bringing them back to their true selves. True nature is permanent and all efforts to improve ourselves are temporary. Meditation or spiritual practices or the grace of a guide or Guru may make a difference in person’s personality but in the absence of inner strength, will power and strong desire to change it would be extremely difficult to alter the true nature.

I am an ardent advocate of maintaining one’s true personality good or bad. Because this is what one’s personality is made of and any attempt to bring change into the true personality will tantamount to compromise, struggle and that may be hurtful. It is always good to act as per one’s true nature than to be deceitful. But it does not mean that people should not try to improve themselves if there is a presence of strong desire to do so.

Our nature is not what we wanted to become but various elements and factors determine the making of our nature. These factors are so overpowering that even biological, social, spiritual and educational backgrounds do not make much difference in our personality. That is why all siblings are different in nature and behaviour even after getting the same parenting and environment.

Now the question comes up does goodness pay off? To my mind, it does not make a difference to good people whether their acts will bring any benefit or not. It is their inborn quality and they have to act with all their goodness in every circumstance.  A good person will remain good in all times to come. Even in adverse circumstances the quality of goodness will never subside. The vagaries of time have no impact on them. Those who want to see advantages or disadvantages, gain or losses in being good are basically not good people by nature but they try to demonstrate goodness by logic. I can cite several hundred examples to reinforce my assumptions in this regard.

An act of goodness is never forgotten and even the wild beast can become the best friend in times of need. I remember a story from Jataka tales (a compilation of stories of Lord Buddha’s previous lives) when a king in exile was travelling through a thick forest when he heard the roar of a lion at a distance. For a moment he was frozen with fear and saw the lion limping towards him. Being a kind and good person his heart immediately was filled with kindness and compassion. He fearlessly went near the lion and found that a thick thorn was stuck in his paw as a result the lion was in great pain and unable to walk. Without fearing of his life, he sat down near the lion and removed the thorn. He tore a piece of his cloth for dressing of the wound and after sometime lion vanished into the forest.

After a while the king in exile was captured by his enemy and thrown in a dungeon together with a hungry and starving lion. The king thought his end was near but to his surprise when the lion came near him instead of attacking him the lion kneeled down before him and started wagging his tail. The king immediately realized that he was the same lion whom he had helped some time ago.

I have also come across several incidences where offspring was benefited by the good deeds of their parents. The act of goodness may cause pain and suffering in short term but it never goes waste and it comes back to the person doing good in present life or in subsequent lives or to their progeny.

Therefore goodness does not need any certification or recommendation, it reflects from a person’s nature and behaviour. The way one cannot conceal the rays of the Sun, the same way goodness is revealed from a person’s personality.

I have tried to express my thoughts on the topic and I look forward to hearing from you with your comments and what you think about goodness. I would also like to ask questions from our professional friends - Does goodness pay off in the professional world? Have you faced hurdles in your professional life due to your goodness? Can you share your personal experience in this regard?


Suman Saran Sinha, CMC
Certified Management Consultant

Jun 16, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF SUCCESS


Success is defined as a favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; or the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted; accomplishment of an aim or purpose. It is also defined as the attainment of wealth, position, honor or the like. The entire gambit of innovation, growth, prosperity and personal happiness revolves around this seven letter noun called “Success”. To attain success and become successful is the inner desire of every human being on the planet. It is the driving force for achieving something of importance in life. With success comes the confidence and courage to take risk for further attempts. It lifts one’s moral and self confidence. It also brings social recognition, name, fame, glory, sense of satisfaction and increases the power of self determination.

On the flip side, success may also bring vanity, egotism, narcissism, pride and arrogance. In some cases the effect of success may reach to the point of self centeredness, selfishness, ruthlessness, gluttony, anger, antagonism, antipathy, aversion and abhorrence towards fellow human beings. Sometimes undeserving success may lead to blindness towards seeing the truth or reality. It may change the way a normal person looks at a situation or circumstance. Sometime people may link their success to their skills and endeavor while completely ignoring the other surrounding factors which may have helped them become successful. Undeserving success may also lead to the comprising of ethical and moral values. 

Albert Einstein has said - "Strive not be a success but rather to be of value". Therefore I have decided to discuss this abstract topic with all of you while analyzing what is the true meaning of success and how success is defined from one’s perspective. Can we consider success without value as success? If not, then what are those values which determine the quality of success? Does the meaning of success vary from person to person? If yes! Then what are those variances? What are its attributes and how it affects personal or social life? Does success mean achieving everything in one's life or it is one of the means to survive in the world? How many types of successes can be classified and how do they provide a sense of accomplishment? Can success obtained through foul means be considered as success? If not then what is the criteria for determining success or genuine successes? Is one type of success greater or lesser than other types of successes? If not, then which success is of the highest value and others not? What factors leads in getting the successes? What are the parameters of determining these successes?  Etc.

Therefore the nature and importance of success varies depending upon the purposes and it also varies from person to person. Achieving certain things in one’s life can be matters of great importance but may be irrelevant from other’s point of view. Similarly having a promotion or an increment in the job or getting a huge order in business or being awarded for an achievement may be a great success from one’s angle but may look normal by others. Thus, the parameter for determining success differs depending upon its nature and circumstances. The parameter for recognizing a success also depends upon ones personality, position and social status. A small effort by socially recognized people becomes a headline whereas a highly qualified and knowledgeable person may face obscurity.

Furthermore, the prosperous termination of attempts, or endeavors or achievements of something desired, planned or attempted may translate into a success in case of personal achievements but on social levels success needs to be acknowledged by someone else other than the person trying to achieve it. On a social level success is determined by taking into consideration the collective efforts put in by an average number of people for the same goal or purpose. Therefore in that case we may presume that success without acknowledgement is no success. It is incomplete in its essence socially while providing a sense of temporary happiness and self pride. Success is a parameter by which a person’s ability or performance is acknowledged or its resulting potential effects on one’s personal or social or professional life is measured or judged by society.

Since success and achievement of an aim or purpose triggers self satisfaction and happiness, hence success and happiness are the resulting components of each other. But there may be examples contrary to this. Sometime people get success in their lives but it is not acknowledged by their employer or their family or society, hence people feel sadness even after accomplishing a task or purpose of importance. One can go all alone to the North Pole and come back but if there is no witness and there is nobody to acknowledge this fact then the efforts will remain a personal achievement and not a success from the social point of view. Hence, success without acknowledgement may only be a personal effort.

Now can we consider success without ‘value’ as success?  This question was raised by the world famous scientist Albert Einstein; hence we must answer why he discouraged us to be successful over having some values in life.

The word ‘value’ can be described as moral value, ethical value, personal value or social value. These values make the character of a person which leads to qualitative contribution towards personal or family or social lives. These values allow a person to make an analytical approach to a situation with positive and constructive mindset. These values give rise to judicious evaluation of a situation even if the situation is not in one’s favor. These values also tantamount to adjustment and sacrifice and enlarges a person’s personality several fold. A sense of magnanimity and benevolence gets induced in one’s thinking and approach. Even after achieving great success, people become more humble, courteous and generous in their approach. Therefore, if a person becomes successful from the literal sense but he or she has not been able to inculcate some values in their personality and action then those successes are useless. Therefore, a success without value may be termed as immoral success or in management terms NVA or Non Value Added Activities.

Moving forward to my next question-“Does the meaning of success vary from person to person”?  If yes, then what are those variances? What are its attributes and how it affects personal or social lives?

Again if we take the literal meaning of success as defined in a dictionary- “prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors” then we find that any attempt which leads to some kind of gain is a success even if the gain is negligible from others point of view. For example when a beggar is hungry and looking forward to have some kind of food, and at the end of the day if the beggar is able to grab a loaf of bread, it can be considered as a prosperous termination of his or her attempts as the beggar is richer by a loaf. On the other hand if a stock broker is able to buy a large quantity of shares at the lowest value, then that is a success for him. Getting bread at the end of day by a beggar is a great success for him but it may not be considered as a success by the stockbroker in comparison to his gain but both of them had their fare share of success.

Therefore, the end result of an endeavor which triggers the feeling of success varies from person to person. These variances can be classified as follows:

  1. Success for Survival
As per the UNO’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2012 World Hungry and Poverty Facts and Statistics, in 2010 about 1 billion people or 14% of the entire estimated population of the world is malnourished. It means that they do not have enough food for survival or they are hungry. In this case grabbing a bag of rice at the time of distribution by aid agencies is a great success for them.

  1. Success for Achievement
This is very common in our lives when we accomplish an aim or purpose such as getting a degree, promotion, winning an elective post, employment, large contracts, prize, award, trophies or becoming recognized in the society for achieving something of utmost value or importance.

  1. Success out of Compulsion
In order to earn our livelihood we all have to work and for that we have to commute in spite of the traffic nightmare, or pick up our children from school, or successfully travelling from one place to another in spite of the airlines strike or reaching a destination in the midst of closure of roads due to some kind of demonstration or protest, or marrying or educating our children or accomplishing a task at work place are the best examples of having a sense of success by achieving our aim or purpose out of compulsion.

  1. Success for Satisfaction
In order to satisfy our mental, physical or emotional desire to have something or to do something of extra-ordinary in nature or to help the family or society, we keep doing certain activities of which the end results provide us a sense of accomplishment or success in achieving the goal, aim or purpose. This gives us a sense of satisfaction while becoming successful in our purpose.

My next sets of questions are - Does success mean achieving everything in one's life or is it one of the means to survive in the world? How many types of successes can be classified and how they provide a sense of accomplishment? Success obtained through foul means can be considered as success or not? If not then what are the criteria for determining successes or genuine successes? Is one type of success greater or lesser than other types of successes? If not then which success is of the highest value and others not? 

Before answering the first question, I will like to deliberate upon types of successes which can be the following:

  1. Material Success:
If one is able to acquire lands, buildings, jewelry or other materials of value with his or her effort or by way of inheritance or gift or by any other means then this type of success may fall under this category.

  1. Financial Success:
Acquiring wealth by way of monetary gain is an important and integral part of judging a person to be financially successful. Again it is a matter of debate to discuss the means of acquiring wealth in order to become financially successful.

  1. Personal Success:
Personal success can be measured from the point of physical or mental satisfaction one gets by doing certain activities which gives a sense of achievement.

  1. Social Success:
Any achievements by which a person gets recognized in the society, gains name, fame and fortune, earns respect power and position, gets the ability to control or influence a large number of people falls under this category.

  1. Religious Success:
Karl Marx a German sociologist of early nineteenth century has said that “the religion is the opium of the people”, hence I will not like to dwell upon this in detail. The acknowledgement of religious success depends upon the percentage of people under the influence of the ‘opium’ or in other words conditioning of their mind.

  1. Spiritual Success:
Under this category, a person realizes the truth of life and one’s purpose of existence in this world. This makes the person humble and ordinary human ills like ego, jealousy, anger and hatred are gone and one’s thought process becomes one with the God. However this success is very personal in nature and hard to find out in the society as spiritually successful people will never go for drum beating or look for any types of endorsement, acknowledgement or advertisement.

Now I would like to digress a bit and would like to quote another proverb which says –“Nothing succeeds like a success”. In a common scenario people generally measure success with the gain of material or financial wealth, power and position. This proverb blatantly ignores the ‘means’ of obtaining those successes.  There are several countries in the world where people have amassed enormous wealth, power or position by way of corrupt practices. Can we consider those successes as successes? These successes obtained through immoral or illegal ways may be temporal in nature and may also have negative fallouts in future. Bernie Medoff of USA is the best example of obtaining success through illegal means. At one time people were dazzled with his financial success running into billions of dollars and now he is behind the bar.

Therefore as per me “unqualified or undeserving success is no success at all”. These successes make people blind to see reality and they may also become arrogant, rude, and full with vanity. Here I would like to quote a poem of Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana (or Rahim) –

“Jo Rahim Ochho Badhe, To Ati Hee Itraay,  Pyade Se Pharji Bhayo, Tedho- Tedho Jaay”.

Its translation in English is – “those who were very low in their mental or spiritual background, if they suddenly gain power or position or acquire wealth then their behavior changes and they become full with vanity which is visible in their action and behavior”.

Sir Winston Churchill, the former prime minister of UK has added another dimension of success by quoting “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”. It means that success alone is not sufficient and it is one’s determination, focus on goals and ability to continue or overcome all odds that matter. I am sure while quoting the word courage he must not have meant negative courage of stealing wealth or holding power or position by deception.

The great king of Macedon (323 BC) – ‘Alexander the Great’ was the most successful and courageous warrior of his time. He conquered many countries and accumulated enormous wealth but at the time of his death he pronounced three wishes to be fulfilled. His first wish was to have his physician bring his coffin home alone; second wish was to scatter gold, silver and gems from his treasury along the path when his coffin is being shipped to the tomb; and the third and final wish was to put his hands outside the coffin.

Upon asking the reason he replied “I want everyone to understand the three lessons I have learned. To let my physician carry my coffin alone is to let people realize that a physician cannot really cure people’s illness. Especially when they face death, the physicians are powerless. I hope people will learn to treasure their lives. My second wish is to tell people not to be like me in pursuing wealth. I spent my whole life pursuing wealth, but I was wasting my time most of the time. My third wish to let people understand that I came to this world in empty hands and I will leave this world also in empty hands.”

Now if we analyze the message Alexander the Great gave to the world we find that material success may be important but it is not everything and in the race of obtaining them one remains devoid of real success which is the knowledge of knowing oneself while creating inner peace and harmony. In other words success is important in our lives in order to enjoy material, financial, or social recognition as long as it is earned in a balanced way and does not affect other aspects of our lives. If these successes results in sorrow or pain or come at the cost of our personal life, married life, family life, social life and spiritual life and if they create an imbalance between our physical, mental or emotional set-up, then these successes cannot be considered as real success. In such cases, an element of failure is also attached with success.

Hence success is important but the quality of success is more important than success itself. Real success is success if one can create a balance between three states of being – mental, physical and spiritual and remain humble, modest, generous, giving, kind, truthful, tolerant, and down to earth even in the situation of getting material, financial, personal or social successes by truthful means while progressing towards the path leading to spiritual success.

I will look forward for your valuable comments for the enlightenment of readers of this blog.

Suman Saran Sinha
Certified Management Consultant and
a pursuer of logical quest

Apr 9, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF LUCK

Does Life Luster without Luck?? 
As a matter of courtesy or in common parlance we wish people ‘good luck’ or ‘best of luck’ whenever they make efforts for achieving something extraordinary or important in nature such as school or university examinations, going for a job interview or starting a business or signing a large contract or any matter of utmost importance which may make or break in life.  We also keep using the word luck in our daily lives such as “we encountered bad luck and our car broke down, or missed the flight due to bad luck, or we broke our ankle, or unfortunately we fell down and injured ourselves, or due to bad luck we lost money in business, or the person was lucky and he won a lottery, or the person needs a bit of luck for success etc.

The word Luck is also synonymous with fate, destiny and fluke. Wishing good luck has become a practice in every part of the world. It seems that every culture believes that there is an unknown force which makes a difference in one’s life and that is why they wish people for their success.  In the process this belief has become a part of life and culture. Has anybody thought why people do this purposely or unmindfully? What triggers the practice of wishing good luck? This may also mean that one’s knowledge, skills or hard work are not sufficient in achieving their desired results but they also need the backing or support of luck.

As per John Webster, sixteenth century dramatist and a contemporary of William Shakespeare – “It is better to be fortunate than wise.” Donald Trump, an American businessman has also quoted as “Everything in life is Luck.” There are several anecdotes, parables and quotes which exemplifies the importance of luck in one’s life. It means that luck is something which can make a huge difference in our lives and we cannot afford to ignore it. If this is the case, then WHAT IS THIS LUCK? Is it something like invoking the positive energy around us or is it the influence of stars and planets which have the capacity to override our knowledge and capabilities? If not then why do people love to watch on TV or read in newspapers their zodiac forecasts?   Even those who pretend not to believe in what the stars foretell will secretly like to know what future holds for them in case of matters involving life and death. If we follow the western philosophy of positive thinking then why do we still face hurdles and sometime negative energy overtakes us in spite of our serious positive thinking and wishful wishing of good luck from well wishers?

If there is an iota of truth in this inexplicable word, then it means that our best of efforts and merit alone cannot decide our future. Then the question may be raised that who decides our success and failure? Is it the influence of our Karma which rewards or inflicts our thought process resulting in a certain type of peculiar outcome? If that is the case then there should be an implicit connection between Karma and Luck. Does this luck work all the time or only sometimes? Does this factor of luck work across the board means helps in all aspects of a person’s life or in contrary? If it works in some aspects of our lives such as our social lives, but perhaps not in married life or professional life but in personal life etc, then it means that a person can be lucky in some aspects of life and unlucky otherwise. If not, then what factors work in bringing good luck or bad luck in one’s life?

One may also argue that in a comparable situation where two or more people have the same capabilities the best succeeds.  However, there are several examples where meritorious or brilliant people are sulking and lesser ones or mediocre people are successful in worldly terms. There are also examples where people have all the materialistic pleasure but not the mental pleasure. In spite of the wealth and best of the merit, they cannot eat properly due to ill health or cannot have a peaceful family life, social life or professional life. There are situations in everybody’s life when our health, wealth, power and position have no use and we feel helpless. Is it the luck or a combination of several factors working against or in favour of a person? My idea of raising this topic is to discuss those factors which make a person lucky or not so lucky or fortunate or not so fortunate.

This topic has been as intriguing as the mysteries of the world yet we do not discuss and accept the bizarre happening in our lives as fate accompli. Those who are ignorant may also say that whatever happens in one’s life is God’s wish. Then again the question may arise that in the kingdom of a just, merciful, kind and loving God why would one person succeed or enjoy, whereas another fail or suffer? God is not supposed to be partial or envious or cruel or ruthless otherwise there would be no difference between God and the devil. And if your answer is that God gives to people as per their deeds then you are talking about the Karma.

Intelligentsia amongst us may also argue that it is the intelligence of a person which makes a difference. Then the question may come up that are they born with this intelligence or they make their brain intelligent by studying and working hard. Human brain is like a ‘Hard Disk’ of a computer which is absolutely blank at the time of birth and needs programming by downloading different software which is equivalent to our acquiring worldly knowledge by reading books, learning etiquettes or going to university, otherwise the anatomy of the brain in the human race is the same. Then how and from where is this luck factor coming into the picture?

Etymology describes Luck as “happiness, good fortune” of unknown origin. Webster dictionary describes luck as a “force that brings good fortune or adversity”. As per Wikipedia, “luck is good fortune which occurs beyond one’s control, without regard to one’s will, intention, or desired result. There are at least two senses people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense. In the prescriptive sense, luck is the supernatural and deterministic concept that there is a force which prescribes that certain events occur very much the way the laws of physics will prescribe that certain event occurs.”

Luck is also described as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Indians for long believed in the influence of stars and planets in one’s life. They also believed in lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi who are responsible for good luck and fortune. As per the ancient Indian scriptures, luck is closely related to Karma and they are of four types which I will be discussing in the next article. Christianity has accepted omens and practiced forms of ritual sacrifice in order to divine the will of their supreme being or to influence divine favoritism. The concepts of divine grace or blessing as they are described by believers closely resemble what is referred to as ‘luck’.  Buddhism does not believe in luck but believes in the cause and effect theory which is the theory of Karma. Islam also nullifies the existence of luck and it is stated in the Quran (Sura: Adh-Dhariyat, verse 22) that one’s sustenance is pre-determined in heaven when the Lord says: "And in the heaven is your provision and that which ye are promised.” This may also mean that God determines one’s sustenance based on his actions or deeds.

Therefore, whether God has pre-determined one’s fate or it is a divine force or some kind of unknown force which helps a person to succeed in the form of good luck or fail in the form of bad luck. If this is the case, then how does this energy or force work in one’s life?  To my mind this topic is so complicated that unless one has an open mind free of all biasness or self imposed prejudices, it would be difficult to understand the philosophy of luck and theory behind its working.

As I perceive, the law of universe binds everything together in its perimeter. Imbalance is caused if any variation takes place. Likewise every action has its consequences and every cause has its effect. If we bring God into the picture then even God is bound by the law of cause and effect otherwise God would not have created dissimilarity between human beings.

This cause and effect theory is so subtle and intricate yet powerful and profound that unfolding its mystery may have insightful effects on our personalities. I have already started writing a book called “Karma Unraveled”. Having studied the sciences, I try to analyze every aspect of life under its purview and as such in my forthcoming book, I am going to analyze this topic keeping the latest findings of modern sciences including different theories of physics, meta physics, quantum physics, astronomy, astrology, palmistry, numerology, ontology, cosmology, parapsychology, human anatomy and physiology.

Being a former attorney, I am going to build the case of Karma as its defence attorney step by step with scientific proof for your judgement and I am sure to unravel the mystery behind this age old concept. Having studied accounting I am also going to use them to describe the use or misuse of the karmic energy, how they are accounted for and how it becomes a part of our Sanchit (acquired) Karma before becoming Prarabdha (destined) Karma. This will also reflect that how we build or destroy the balance sheet of our lives by making wrong Journal Entries (actions) everyday without following the principles of Karmaneye (ethical work) Karma and Nishkam (action without expectation) Karma.

Last but not the least my knowledge of management consulting will help me in suggesting Re-Engineering of the Karmic Energy and since re-engineering is a project, I will be also using my understanding of project management in fixing the karmic energy and at the end I will also be presenting several case studies describing how karma actually works in real life.

I am convinced that my effort will be a creative, exhaustive and a unique one in this direction and free of all biasness.  However I also feel that this type of project is not possible to accomplish without divine blessings and inspirations. Hence once published, it will be for people of all sects and religions to understand the mysteries of their personal, social, family or professional lives.

Meanwhile, I will like to have your take on the topic which may be helpful in unfolding the mystery of luck and making our lives more meaningful and satisfying.

Suman Saran Sinha

Mar 17, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF HYPOCRISY


“Ostentation is the signal flag of hypocrisy”. When I look around the world including our personal or professional ones, people are able to project their image successfully in contrary to their true personalities. We preach one thing and practice another thing. One rule is meant for us and another for others. We say certain things we do not mean and do certain things we do not intend to do. At the top echelon of the professional world, mediocrity thrives on hypocrisy by way of appeasement and flattery. For example, the advent of hypocrisy is deeply rooted in our political systems which to some extent is plausible, as the true meaning of politics have changed over the period of time to ‘dealing with people in an opportunistic, manipulative or devious way’.

But what about the existence of hypocrisy in our daily lives including our personal, social, and professional lives? Is it necessary to be hypocritical for survival or it is one’s inherent nature to manipulate? Do we become hypocritical in order to gain advantages or to fool the system or the people? Can we survive in this manipulative world without becoming hypocritical? What are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming hypocritical? I have tried to weave my mind through this abstract topic in order to initiate a discussion and in turn expose ourselves with our day to day hypocritical behaviours and unnatural tendencies.

The question that may also be raised is does hypocrisy provide leverage in our lives and if so, then is it sustainable? I think hypocrisy may provide a stepping stone in making a wrongful entry or falsely projecting an image, and in the absence of credibility it may erode quicker. Any action—verbal or physical is not tenable for long if it is not based on solid moral foundation and this moral foundation is re-enforced by one’s knowledge, experience, merit, intelligence, hard work, truthfulness, greatness, honesty, integrity and gentleness. There can be several examples of non-sustainability of hypocrisy but the recent case of Bernie Madoff, a former US businessman, NASDAQ chairman and an investment adviser who duped people for billions of dollars by his Ponzi scheme, is still fresh in our memories.  His case also demonstrates how so-called white collared intelligent and successful people at high places including banks and government organizations become susceptible to hypocrisy by getting lured towards the false facade created by these con men. This also proves that greed and hypocrisy are closely related terms.

At a micro level, it would be quite interesting to cite examples of hypocrisy prevalent in the society by identifying them under different categories. However, these categorizations cannot be generalized in the presence of exceptions.

1)   Hypocrisy in Personal Life: In some families, a child grows by watching how his or her parents backbite other people, whereas they want their children not to talk foul about others.  They do not want their children to smoke, drink or watch adult movies but they are allowed to do so in their full knowledge. They look for an opportunity to manipulate the system or the society but they want their children to be honest and truthful. In the process, they do not care about impressions they are creating on their tender minds. The hypocrisy is also visible in adult relationships and their thought processes. We want our partner or spouse to be chaste and faithful whereas we are allowed to be deceitful. We may not love our spouse but must make pretentions on Valentine’s Day. We may call them honey or darling twenty times in a day without meaning an iota of its essence and may go for a divorce the very next day.

2)    Hypocrisy in Social Life: I remember how in smaller towns and villages, people used to pay respect to the elders because of their age and wisdom, to teachers because of their knowledge, and to the farmers or professionals because of their experience. It did not make a difference to us whether those people are rich or poor, well dressed or in tattered clothes, living in a mansion or in a hut and driving a car or riding a bicycle. We respected them because of their originality, simplicity, magnanimity and contributions to the society. 

Now, our modern world is entirely different which is built on the basis of hypocrisy and pretentions.  We run after things which shine although it may be contrary to the proverb that whatever shines is not gold. We go by the dress of a person, what kind of house the person has, what kind of car a person drives, how smart a person is in demonstrating his or her wealth or affluence, and how articulately a person presents his or her words. We are least bothered to know the reality of a person or reasons behind these facades. Whether the well dressed person driving an expensive car and living in a mansion is an illiterate or a criminal who has amassed wealth by foul means does not concern us.  As already said we are laid to believe that whatever glitters is gold.  This belief is the outcome of our hypocritical nature which has been enshrined by our modern education system or so-called modern society.

Another example of hypocrisy in social life can be that when we meet a person we go by the words of flattery. We like sycophancy so much that those words of praise about our education, position, beauty, success, wealth etc sounds music to our ears and we get ourselves elevated by deceit. In this process, our intelligence takes a backstage and our craving for falsehood takes over.

3)   Hypocrisy in Professional Life: Being a former banker, a financial consultant and having some knowledge of macro economy, I strongly believe that the world’s economy is suffering not because of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere but because of the greed of a few on the top and a hypocritical society who tends to lean towards the sycophants. It has become a modern corporate culture to promote the packaging more than the substance itself. People on key positions want to promote those who are willing to fall in line instead of those who have their own brain and have the ability to call a spade a spade.

Selection criteria’s are based on degrees and not actual knowledge or worldly experience. One may be highly experienced and capable of obtaining several degrees but cannot get the job because he or she does not meet the robotic parameters. Hiring managers look for the keywords in a resume more than the true capabilities. Merit overtakes the vagaries of the computers. Manipulations take over the quality.  And once these robotic presentations are appointed, then in the race of achieving nonsensical targets for themselves and resulting bonuses for their bosses, they ignore certain parameters which in turn triggers these financial debacles. 

4)    Hypocrisy in Public Life: It would be audacious to dwell upon this topic in public life as the entire system is built on following suit. In the hierarchical system, people have no option but to follow authority. Therefore it is very important who is on top and how the system is functioning in the absence or presence of sycophants.  If a system is marred with sycophants and corrupt officials then naturally hypocrisy would be the call of the game.

5)    Hypocrisy in Religious or Spiritual life: Believing in God or praying to the almighty is a state of mind by which a devotee tries to connect with the supreme power. For this it is important that our mental horizon is filled with purity and able to provide an aesthetic environment for the almighty to get in.  These purities and aesthetic environments are created by certain austerities and self admonishment which requires practice of high moral and ethical standards. Now, if the mind is filled with dirt’s of anger, ego, greed, hatred, jealousy, animosity, dishonesty or negative thoughts, how would one be able to invite God in their mental horizon by way of prayers? It is something like trying to build a place of worship on a heap of garbage. Therefore, prayers without penance are nothing but hypocrisy of par excellence where people not only try to fool themselves and the society but also God.

Therefore in order to develop a qualitative society, we must guard ourselves from the ills of hypocrisy. It may give short pleasure or success or may open the door of an opportunity but its resulting effects may cast a shadow on our society and professional world for a long time.

Being a poet as well, I have written couple of lines on Hypocrisy and it is posted on my other blog and if you have an interest, then you may visit  :
http://www.mypoemsinenglish.blogspot.ca/

I will look forward for your valuable comments in order to have an intelligent and thoughtful conversation on the topic.
                      
Suman Saran Sinha
B.Sc., LLB, CMC
Certified Management Consultant
Toronto, Canada.