Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Have we ever sit and wondered that why we become so obdurate,intransigent and stubborn in our thoughts,actions,beliefs and values as we age and grow?

And before we even want to find the answer of this question,lets ask a more bigger question,wondering that the premise of this discussion is not merely an hypothesis,a generally stated fact,which needs no empirically stated proof,is our character of becoming intransigent a right thing or not?
If we say that becoming stubborn unconsciously,naturally by a normal adult man with sane psyche is a positive development then we must check our presumptions against that.

The reason is that as the man grows,he gets lots of experiences and innumerable exposure constantly and he then goes on an eternal pursuit of finding meaning out of it and making this more standardized and order out of chaos.In other words,he wants to define some sets of beliefs and makes it a guiding principle.After defining his guiding principle,he again goes back to his experiential journey but this time armed with his values and philosophies.This new set of ideology provides his judgment and ability to take decision,and chances are high that his decisions from then onwards will produce a positive outcomes thus giving him more confidence and firming his belief all the more.

I am saying that this is natural and very much in line with the theory propounded by Charles Darwin's magnanimous epic "Origin of Species' conceptualizing 'Survival of Fittest'.But there lies a bigger meaning which gives us a reason to find a more deeper view into the levels of society which exists in the world.To explore this meaning we need to again go back to the concept 'Survival of Fittest'.The society which is at the upper level of hierarchy is more developed one and hence has the better ability to change itself dynamically by breaking its old ethos,traditions,beliefs and ideologies.

This observation gives us a glimpse into the similar analogy that if we want to take a leap and become more progressive then we must also introspect into our beliefs and ethos thus calling into the need to constantly question our beliefs,have the ability to challenge them and determination to modify our beliefs.This needs a mental conditioning model which will let us achieve this goal.Hence,as we grow,the beliefs which we form are true only under limited set of conditions and those conditions are not universal but highly local.So in order to achieve our dreams and improve our life style we must remember that the our ideologies are false under some new conditions and hence we must be ready to spot these new conditions and activate our conditioning model to form a new set of beliefs and ideologies.

This is my Chautauqua for this day!!

Rethinking MBA

I happened to read a very interesting article in today’s ET titled RETHINKING THE MBA.The authors argue that instead of having 2year MBA course, it’s more pragmatic to have 1 year MBA course.I’d like to sum up the reasons they have stated in support of their argument:
Students get slacked off after completion of 1st yr because they know that their job short listing is based on their 1st year CGPAs.
The creme De la creme of MBA is summer internships which get completed after end of 1st year so students get relaxed after 1 st year.

The students in top B schools are mostly engineers from top colleges so they are already conditioned to be fast learners so they don’t need 2 year model for learning management.
All the best b schools in the world like Ivey B School in Canada’s Ontario and INSEAD, Paris have adopted the 1 year model.

Keeping in these above points in mind, it’s better to have 1 year model because we know that to optimize your assets, assets must be leveraged, inventory must have high turnover hence these if we adopt 1 year model then the student intake can also be increased, faculty shortage can also be met and students can be industry ready faster and start earning faster.

I could not agree more with the argument stated by these eminent thinkers. I myself have faced the same issue in my MBA.i have observed that the 1st year of MBA was rigorous and we were really able to learn the concepts very fast and were more productive. We had to go through so many things like assignments, classes, extra curricular activities and in fact all the main subjects had been taught in 1st year itself and the 2nd year has been so relaxed that sometimes it comes to haunt me and makes me think as if I am simply wasting my time and the real valuable learning is effectively zero. I am not joking or temporarily emotional, I am serious. We hardly have classes, and the classes which we have are repetition and extension of courses taught in 1st year while some of them are just a waste of time and they are there only to fill time. Other than that we are doing almost nothing. And I sometimes think back that what value have I gained in my 2nd year which will arm me to be a better manager and then there is void in my fact I had learned more during my 2months of internship than in my MBA so this proves the fact that given time crunch and scope of learning being huge you learn things more faster and longer.

I don’t see any reason why we should have this 2year model, have the students get taught all the important courses, send them for internship and give them placement. The courses and subjects have no end and if we think that this or that subject is also important then this list will never end. Some things should be left to be learned on the job too.

I hope with this article, a better sense will prevail and hopefully the coming generation will get the fruits of this debate coming to fore.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenaince-Robert Pirsiq

I am currently reading this book called 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert Pirsiq. It’s a nonfiction book which is heavily based on philosphy.I had heard a lot about this book from so many people including my dear friend and my Marketing Professor. I am halfway through this book and I like it very much. One big reason why this book is so interesting is because the book is not a bland didactic highbrow philosophy but it is in form of a very interesting real story which has happened with the author himself. Another reason is that the background of the author itself is very connected and very curious. It would make anybody wonder that this book which was first published 3decades back was rejected by 121publishers before it came into print. Robert Pirsiq had gone into depression and was considered lunatic and was put into mental asylum for some period of life. In short he was certified mad, dangerous and homicidal. He had a very bad married life because of several reasons. But another curious fact which must be known is that pirsiq was a born genius and it was proved by his astonishingly IQ score of 170 recorded during his childhood. Now you might be wondering what situations had led him to become a lunatic and suffer from acute depression and to answer that I’d also like to add the fact that his conditions grew so severe later on that he was seen talking to himself and he admitted to be having delusions and diagnosed as schizophrenic. I started reading his book, then left it in the middle, read this book's afterword and then checked some fact about him from internet and I was really surprised.
To give you some causes of Pirsiq’s problems, I think we need to understand something about his book first to gain better understanding about him.
This book is a story of a man and his son and their 2 couple friends who go for a cross country road trip in the Northwestern part of US and while driving author is talking a lot about some of the philosophical ideas which are running into his mind and has explored some key questions and topics which are extremely fundamental. The trip has basically showing the readers a perspective into author’s ideologies through something called CHAUTAUQUA. A Chautauqua is a word which he uses whenever he is on drive and wants to think very deeply on something. He has discussed a lot of issues at length including the philosophy behind motorcycle maintenance,difference between classical and romantic art, Metaphysics of Quality and no of other things. But the interesting thing is that author has coined an imaginary character called Phaedrus (which he has borrowed from the dialogues in Plato’s play namely REPUBLIC and SYMPOSIUM).Phaedrus is author’s anti ego which doesn’t exists actually but author wants to refer every incident using this 2nd person and not himself. But Phaedrus is very unique to author.He is very rational, very value driven, very honest, uncompromising, unrelenting and he acts and does what he things is right irrespective of what society wants him to be even if society is wrong. In short Phaedrus is a very ideal character which author things that the real part of him is Phaedrus himself but he actually disguises himself to be different and pretends in front of society.
Now the real reason which leads to Pirsiq's breakdown is that the imaginary character Phaedrus slowly and slowly starts to dominate his real life and he starts behaving unsocietial.He talks a lot to himself and sometimes he feels that there is actually a person called Phaedrus existing.He is rejected by his family and friends because of this nature and he is given electro thermal therapy in hospital. Slowly and slowly he realizes that if he has to come out of this asylum then he will have to compromise will his 'real' self i.e. Phaedrus which he has testified in his interview long back. But after coming out of hospital ,he is bothered with numerous issues which haunt him so he decided that he must go for a road trip and may be  in the pursuit of finding the answers ,he would be again become a satisfied man. After coming back from his trip he becomes so compelled that he decided to write book and what we see as a book becomes a masterpiece by Robert Pirsiq.
Robert pirsiq has also visited BHU, Varanasi to study oriental philosophy in search of his answers, he marries a journalist who comes to his boat for his interview during his long voyage, and he removes the grading system while holding a teaching job in a university.
Read out this book guys, it’s a worth piece to grab!!