Monthly Archives: May 2013

Speculum of the Gift Culture

gift economygift culture or gift exchange is a mode of exchange where valuables are given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. 

When it comes to gift culture there are 6 kinds of people;

The believers and the true followers,

These are those people who completely believe in gift culture and follow it without doubting it a bit! I has sprained my hand once, and someone asked me to visit this guy in a village a bit away from Udaipur, I went there it was old house with a few people waiting outside, every 3 minutes there will screams of “oohh!!” and “aaahh!!”. So when it was my turn I went inside I saw the person who had come before me threw some money in the shelf and left. When I went it the guy didn’t say a word, I showed him my had, the pulled it and there was some noise, I screamed, and I felt a lot better, he asked me not to sleep on this side for the next 2 days and he called the next guy. He did not ask for money, it would have cost me a fortune if I had gone to the doc. I just left some money in the shelf and left. Now HE is a true follower, he doesn’t talk about it but does it!

These are the people who follow it without naming it anything.

The believers and the ego boo’s

“Ego boo is a colloquial expression for the pleasure received from public recognition of voluntary work.” These are the kind of people who believe in it and tell other people that they are following “gift Culture”. I don’t mean to say that there is anything wrong in it but yes they satisfy their ego by getting that kind of a recognition.

The ones who do it for the return gifts, prestationers,

Basically they are the ones who try to sell the concept of gift culture, the ones who do it for the benefits or a total prestation(A prestation is a service provided out of a sense of obligation, like “community service). Say, politicians such as the ones in Tamil Nadu, who give away things like television sets or help people in need to lure people into voting for them.

The pretenders,

“The paradox of keeping-while-giving”; they are given as gifts (not sold) yet still retain a tie to their owners. These gifts are not like those given in regular gift giving in the West on birthdays for example. Rather, these gifts can’t be re-sold for money by the receiver because the value and the significance of the gift cannot be alienated or disengaged from its relationship to those whose inalienable possession it is.

The partial believers,

These are the people who expected a generalized reciprocity when they gave away their things (gifts).

 generalized reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services without keeping track of their exact value, but often with the expectation that their value will balance out over time

The non-believers and the critiques

These are the people who sit and speculate about anything and everything. Or these are the people who strongly believe in the monetary system, these are the people who think that there can a VALUE (in terms of money) for everything.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Warm Fuzzy Tale

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two happy people called Tim and Maggie with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days. You see in those happy days everyone was given a small, soft Fuzzy Bag when born. Any time a person reached into this bag they were able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever someone was given a Warm Fuzzy it made them feel warm and fuzzy all over.

In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, “I’d like to have a Warm Fuzzy.” You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a child’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy, Warm Fuzzy. When you laid the Warm Fuzzy on the person’s head, shoulder or lap it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.

People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around, and so everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.

One day a bad witch who made salves and potions for sick people became angry because everyone was so happy and feeling good and no one was buying potions and salves. The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan. One beautiful morning while Maggie was playing with her daughter the witch crept up to Tim  and whispered in his ear,  

“See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up she is going to run out and then there won’t be any left for you!”

Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and asked, “Do you mean to tell me that there isn’t a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?”.

And the witch answered, “No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that’s it. You don’t have any more.” With this the witch flew away on a broom, laughing and cackling all the way.

Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave away a Warm Fuzzy. He got very worried because he liked Maggie’s Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and other people.

Tim began to complain or sulk when he saw Maggie giving Warm Fuzzies to somebody else, and because Maggie loved him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved most of them for him.

The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give  Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it. They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they felt jealous and complained and sometimes even had a tantrum. And even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag they began to feel guilty whenever they gave them away so they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy with them.

Before the witch, people used to gather in groups of three, four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off and to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other, exclusively. When people forgot to be careful and gave a Warm Fuzzy to just anybody they worried because they knew that somebody would probably resent sharing  their Warm Fuzzies. 

People began to give less and less Warm Fuzzies, and felt less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up and, occasionally, people would even die from lack of Warm Fuzzies. People felt worse and worse and, more and more, people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn’t really seem to work.

Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn’t really want the people to die (since dead people couldn’t buy his salves and potions), so a new plan was devised.

Everyone was given, free of charge, a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch’s bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy; in fact they made them feel cold and prickly instead. But the Cold Pricklies were better than nothing and they did prevent peoples’ backs from shriveling up.

So, from then on, when somebody asked for a Warm Fuzzy, people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, “I can’t give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly instead?”

Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they maybe they could get a Warm Fuzzy this time, but one of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies instead. So, the end result was that people were not dying anymore but a lot of people were very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly indeed.

The situation got very complicated since the coming of the witch because there were fewer and fewer Warm Fuzzies around and Warm Fuzzies which used to be free as air, became extremely valuable.

This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to get Warm Fuzzies. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Warm Fuzzies and had to work long hours to earn the money.

Some people became “popular” and got a lot of Warm Fuzzies without having to give any back.  These people would then sell their Warm Fuzzies to people who were “unpopular” and needed them to feel that life was worth living.

Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies–which were everywhere and freely available-and coated them white and fluffy so that they almost looked like Warm Fuzzies. These fake Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional problems.

For instance, two or more people would get together and freely give each other Plastic Fuzzies. They expected to feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. People got very confused never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were because they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.

So the situation was very, very dismal and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.

Not long ago, a young woman with big hips came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the bad witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. They called her the Hip Woman and disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies. The children liked her very much because they felt good around her and they began to follow her example giving out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.

This made the grownups very worried. To protect the children from depleting their supplies of Warm Fuzzies they passed a law. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner or without a license. Many children, however, seemed not to care; and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked. Because they were many, many children, almost as many as grown ups, it began to look as if maybe they would have their way.

As of now its hard to say what will happen. Will the grownups  laws stop the recklessness of the children?

Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?

Will they remember the days their children are trying to bring back when Warm Fuzzies were abundant because people gave them away freely ?

The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right were you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and being as loving and healthy as you can.

 – Claude Steiner  

Life and How to Survive It

—Written by Adrian Tan, author of The Teenage Textbook (1988), was the guest-of-honour at a recent NTU convocation ceremony. This was his speech to the graduating class of 2008—-

 

I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

 

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

 

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.

 

Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

 

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.

 

Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

 

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.

 

You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

 

The good news is that they’re wrong.

 

The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

 

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

 

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.

 

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

 

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.

 

Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.

 

I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

 

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

 

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.

 

That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

 

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

 

What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

 

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.

 

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

 

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

 

The most important is this: do not work.

 

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

 

Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

 

There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

 

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

 

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.

 

Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

 

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.

 

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

 

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.

 

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.

 

In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

 

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

 

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

 

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

 

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

 

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

 

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

 

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

 

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

 

You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.

 

You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

 

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

 

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

 

You’re going to have a busy life. Thank goodness there’s no life expectancy.

Let them be!

walked-out walking-on

I met these two kids the other day in the park when we were hosting the cooperative games. They said that they were magicians but they also added that they were not so good at it. We asked them to join us. They were reluctant at first, They said “Watch our magic performance”. We simply compelled them to play and they joined us. We were having fun (We includes our young friends too). After a while we watched their magic show. They made a good collection.  They did not leave as soon as they got the money, they continued playing. Later, we invited them over to Shikshantar. They accepted our invitation.

The next morning I had just woken up and they were there. Their names are Mustafa and Wajid. We had a good time painting things, watching videos, playing and having breakfast together.

Now anyone would say “These kids are…

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How have you been fooling yourself?

Facts facts! Mining, accounts for only 0.4% of the global workforce, but is responsible for over 3% of fatal accidents at work—about 11,000 per year, about 30 each day. every time we decide to buy a phone of something some is loosing their life or some woman is raped to get the work done. Women of reproductive age working with reproductive age working with reproductive toxics, neurotoxins, carcinogens and more.etc Etc… [look for links in the description for more accurate details and facts]

Given that all these things are happening, why do people do what they do even though it has a huge impact on the rest of the humanity!? Why haven’t we started changing our ways yet?

 I was going through my old stuff and realized that I had once done research on nanotechnology and presented a paper on it for a competition. The ideology of the competition was to test the capability to research and present a paper before getting into the field. My paper had a whole section of the disadvantages of advancement in nanotechnology. I have very clearly stated that local farmers and manufacturers will be put out of their jobs, and how atomic weapons can be more easily accessible to everyone and all that. But back then all the good/interesting things had a golden lining that I couldn’t actually see all the negative impacts it had. That negative impact which was affecting humanity was the first reason I wanted to work in nanotechnology in the first place. But is that all? Is that the reason people still do/work for all these things (selective hearing)?

What about the other people??

Is it that they truly believe that what they are working for/with will not affect other people?

Or is it that they are not aware of the consequences of their actions?

Or lazy and so used to comfort??

Or somewhere inside they want things to change but they are waiting for the world to change?

Or have they become so NUMB that they don’t care about the rest of the world?

Is compassion dead among people? No! I certainly don’t believe so! Cause every time when people hit rock bottom, they tend to help each other, people show love and compassion towards each other!! But it’s that what will take for people to realize?? A major crises situation?? Or like my friend always says is it possible to learn from other’s experience?? Learn that they have love and compassion inside of them, it as an innate quality of every human being!

We all know that we aren’t really happy with the way things are! no one is asked to stop using things, or buying things, they are just asked to think if they are OK with the way/medium through which they get things done. Lets face it! We all know that we are never going to reach perfection! But we have to keep trying! We can’t keep pretending that everything is perfect and fool ourselves! we need to change!

check out these links to find out more: http://www.storyofstuff.org/‎ , http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/

Sams and few other people at the dinning table having a heated discussion on what reality is etc etc,
Sams to niks (eating his food, not bothered by their discussions): so niks! What do you think is reality?
Niks after a long pause: Reality is what you all are trying to run away from by having this discussion.

Too many whys and what ifs

tags:critical thinking, questioning

My mind, ask for it to keep still and concentrate on one particular thing for sometime, It cannot! It either thinks of the past, all the good memories or the bad ones, cherishes and longs for the good ones and try hard not to think about the bad ones or thinks about the future, wishing for something to happen in a certain way or something that it shouldn’t happen in a certain way. It won’t rest. For some reason there is this hope that meditation will help me help me stop thinking about the past and future ie have fears, insecurities, anxieties call it anything. Then came the question what if this happens, what if that happens and why would this necessarily be good for me. It was really stupid to ask why, even though I know trying to reason things is only going to make it worse, the idea was to stop reasoning in the first place. But now that I have asked that question, I cannot give it a fair try as well.
Its like this, there was his man riding this black horse not really satisfied with his horse. Then there came a man with a white horse, he said why don’t you try this it feels great! But our guy is worried what if it doesn’t satisfy his as will, so what he does is he puts one of his legs on the white horse and kept the other led on his horse. Now that is dangerous. At the same time not giving is a try is also stupid, you are already not satisfied with what you already have. But yes its at least better than trying to get both.

That’s the problem right, too many whys and what ifs, its good to be cautious, its good to critically think of the consequences. But there is a limit, you tend to loose the point to do any thing in life if we ask too many of em’!