>For everything that is cult-like, there is a tendency among people to get divided in insider and outsider argument. Insiders are those who are following the cult and outsiders are those who are not. A couple of examples of this cult like stuff are: open source, blogging, army etc.
It is interesting to see how differently insiders and outsiders see the same thing.
Insider: Blogging is great. It is going to change the world and the way we live in this world. This is the best possible thing that has happened after fire was discovered.
Outsider: Blogging is full of shit. It is a way for some kids to come online and express their supressed emotions to faceless/unknown people. All bloggers will eventually go to a mental asylum.
Insider: Open Source is great. It is going to change the world and the way we live in this world. This is the best possible thing that has happened after fire was discovered.
Outsider: Open Source is full of bullshit. Some kids write some software somewhere, throw it open for anybody/everybody to change and feel happy about it. You can’t build great/secure/big/ software with open source.
In the debate between insider and outsider, nobody cares about proving one’s point. Nobody cares about substantiating one’s claims. It’s mostly fallacies. A statement of what they have concluded. And their conclusion statement has an emotional overtone. They talk in extremes; they talk in terms of black and white.
However, this is not how Insiders and Outsiders start. To begin with, there are no insiders and outsiders. Consider blogging. Were there any insiders or outsiders before blogging was born? No. It’s interesting how the insider Vs outsider thing starts. For the purpose of illustration, I’ll take example of blogging.
When you introduce the topic of blogging to someone, the response would most likely fall into one of the two categories: 1. it sounds interesting 2. it sounds absurd.
The first category of ‘sounds-interesting’ people try blogging. The second category of ‘sounds-absurd’ people don’t try it. The first ones become insiders as they get into blogging and start enjoying it. The second ones become outsiders as they don’t get into blogging and can’t know what it is about.
And then the insiders and outsiders have conversations. In those conversations they have arguments. The arguments start as mild ones but they get stronger. People take a firm stand and start believing that the other side just doesn’t get it. After a while, the reason is destroyed. People have already formed an opinion (insiders as well as outsiders) about the people on the other side of line.
The world gets divided in black and white. What both the sides forget here is that the world is not black and white. It has shades of grey. And more importantly, it is full of colors.
>Looks like Blogger is doing some upgrade. Or it is experiencing some problems. Or both. I am having a tough time blogging. But I am determined.
>This is what Soni once said, “Jo bhi karo, khoob karo” (whatever you do, do it excessively). And that’s how I am blogging today (after a very long silence). Not that I didn’t have anything to write. It’s just that I have been too held up with other matters of life (like work .
So, today, I am in a mood to talk. And I am talking. And don’t worry, I am not drunk.
That reminds me that in the hostel days, the guy most thoroughly drunk would loudly claim that he was not drunk. The statement “I am not drunk” meant that the person is thoroughly drunk.
That was a digression though. Just a memory of old days that crossed my mind because our thoughts are linked.
I particularly wanted to say that I would be on vacation for 2 weeks starting this saturday. I am going to Sikkim which I have heard is a very very beautiful place.
I have been writing up Mind Trick #3 by the way. It’s just that I am not getting the time to do it. And remember when someone says he/she is not getting the time to do something, it means that he/she doesn’t feel like doing it.
Too much of random stuff for this blog. I guess it would be fun to read this entry after a couple of days. I’ll see if I can figure out ‘then’ what I was thinking ‘now’.
>Dr. Michael C. Labossiere has done a wonderful job of documenting types of fallacies. I want to learn each one of them by heart so that I can use them in arguments against the person resorting to any of these fallacies.
Myself: A site like AbsoluteHousing must provide RSS feed of locations that become available for rent.
Other Person: Of course, you would say that because you are blogger.
Myself: Your statement can be categorized as Ad Hominem fallacy.
>Blogger has changed the home page. And it looks ugly in Firefox. Ashwin had asked me to use LiveJournal right after I started blogging. And I told him that I had grown so old that I had developed a resistance for change.
Too bad. Should have listened to the veteran. Now I have put too much content on Blogger to migrate.
>Microsoft is entering into feed aggregation with start.com (via Vishal). They seem to have taken a clue from Google (innovate the UI) and they are completely revisiting the aggregator UI in start.com.
However, the design of start.com is also based on the mailbox concept. You have some folders. You organize the feed in different folders. You select a folder and it will show you what all feeds are organized in that. You click on a feed and it will show you what all new stuff is there.
I agree, the interface is richer and much more sleek but the concept is still the same.
Personally, I agree with Dave on the design of feed aggregators. RSS feeds are not emails and should not be treated as such. I really liked the River of News approach. Let the blogs flow like river and you can watch them sitting on the bank. I would propose two enhancements here:
1. It should provide a dam kind of facility where I can block the river and release water in a controled fashion. So, I could say release 10 blogs and then 10 more and then 10 more. There are times when I want to watch all the blogs. At such a time, I don’t want to get overwhelmed by having 100 or so blogs on my browser screen.
2. I should be able to pick up gems from the river and put them aside. Later, I can collectively take some actions on them (like collective bookmarking, or write comments or respond through a blog). This way, I won’t have to break my flow of consuming information.
>So, I see that Yahoo is very close to launching 360 degree now. I am happy. Not that I see myself using it in near or distant future. But because (I hope) it will force Google to enhance Blogger which seems to be so much outdated now (when compared to Liverjournal/Typepad).
>Having jogged for a while and having finished all the basic stretching exercises I regularly do, it was time for stomach exercises. Which meant I had to lie down on the grass. [By the way, if you don't have the background, every morning I go to Cubbon Park for jogging. I have been doing it for almost 2 weeks i.e. right after I realized that I have to shed the extra Kgs I have put on OR buy new jeans with different waist size.]
Anyway, so I had done the jogging part and was through with the exercises bit and it was time for me to lie down on the grass and start the stomach exercises. Though I do it everyday, today I found it particularly distasteful to lie down on the dry grass and pick a bit of dirt all over my body. And I thought, ‘let me not do it today; from tomorrow, I’ll get a mat and then do the stomach exercises’.
What’s the big deal you would ask. Where is the mind trick you might wonder. Hmmm. Patience. I’ll tell you. Have a bit of patience.
So, I had almost made up my mind to call it a day and was about to leave the exercise field, when a thought crossed my mind. The thought was more of a question that I asked myself. “Everyday I lie down on this grass and get dirty. But it is only today that I find it so extremely distasteful. What’s the deal here? Why didn’t I feel the same way yesterday?” And guess what. I knew the answer.
I have always found the stomach exercises boring. So boring that I never want to do it. I have never understood why but it is boring to me. But I can’t tell myself that it is boring. Because I’ll never accept this excuse from myself for not doing stomach exercises especially when my ponch has become all too visible. So, I have to find different reasons to convince myself. Yeah, that’s funny. First, I have to convince myself for not doing it. Secondly, I have to find some valid reasons as I won’t accept any shit from myself. ‘Boring’ is not a good enough reason for not doing it.
So, this was an example of ‘giving yourself wrong reasons’. If I look at my day and look at all the decisions that I make during the day, I find so many instances of myself giving wrong reasons to myself
Why do I do this? And why do *you* do this (well, believe it or not, you are as much human as I am)? I think our brain is divided in two parts. One (right hemisphere) tells you what you want/like/prefer/inclined-to and the other one (left hemisphere) tells you what should/must/ought-to. The first one is your gut/instinct/feel and the other one is your learning/experience/reason/rationalization. More often than we realize, we find ourselves in a situation when the two parts differ in their verdict on an activity. One will say ‘yes’ and the other will say ‘no’. We have a natural tendency to go by what the right hemisphere feels like. But we have been systematically taught and trained to go by what the left hemisphere reasons. And in the middle of these two hemispheres lies an activity whose fate is to be decided by the winner of the two.
Now, with all this background, we can look inside the brain and see what goes on there.
I go jogging for the first day. My right hemisphere says that stomach exercises are boring. My left hemisphere says ‘boring or not, I must do it anyway’. I am a man of reason. I follow reason. I interpret what the right hemisphere says in the context of reasoning. The right hemisphere says that ‘exercise is boring’. I interpret it as ‘exercise is boring and hence I should not do it’. My left hemisphere says ‘but what about that fat stuck to your stomach’? I conclude that the argument by right hemisphere is weaker. The left hemisphere wins. I go for exercise. While doing the exercise, my right hemisphere maintains a distasteful feeling within me because I chose to do it against its wishes.
So, every morning, I have this argument in my right and left hemispheres and the left one always wins. But the right one manages to keep a distasteful feeling throughout the activity. This sense of distastefulness keeps accumulating over a period of time. And boom! Guess what happens one day!!
One day, eventually, just before I am to start the activity, I get a feeling of revulsion at the thought of exercising. The feeling says that it is always very distastefule to exercise. I interpret the feeling as ‘it is always very distastefule to exercise *here*’. Notice the extra word ‘here’ I add to what I felt. And because I am a man of reason, I must find a reason for this too. And instead of looking inside what makes it so distasteful for me, I look outside. I look for external factors. I notice the grass and dirt. And my left hemisphere says this is the reason I don’t like exercising here. I don’t like getting dirty basically.
This is absolutely wrong. It’s the job of my right hemisphere that does not wish to exercise (for whatever reasons; may be people are lazy by nature; I don’t care; it’s not relevant here). My right hemisphere has systematically led the left one to find a reason for not doing exercises.
Ha! The right hemisphere wins!!
>This weekend, I went to Honey Valley Estate. Spent 3 nights and 4 days there. Good place. I *do* want to write about this trip but at the same time, I lack the time to put down everything. But something is better than nothing and nothing is better than nonsense, here are some random musings that is less than the full thing but more than the nonsense.
1. I came to know about this place from Anand. He told about this place around a year back and then around a week back. The way he described was ‘you can’t go all the way there by your car. You’ll have to park your car at some distance and they’ll come and pick you up by their jeep. It’s in the middle of a forest/mountains. It’s a good place’. Ok. So, I didn’t take much notice around a year back but this time around, I was looking for some place where I could take my wife (well, lately she has been angry with me because I do most of my travelling without her . So we went there.
2. Even after booking at honey valley, we (me and my wife) were reconsidering our decision to go there and were actually planning to go to Kodaikanal instead. Now, that would have been one of the most stupidest thing to do ever. Of course, we realized it only after going to Honey Valley. Anyday, it beats the hell out of a place like Kodaikanal or Ooty. Note: This statement is not applicable for all. It is mind-bogglingly foresty and mountainish. There is no Mal Road, no boating, no Pizza, nobody selling mineral water and carrots at *points* overlooking a valley. It is as good as pitching tent in deep forests on a mountain; only better.
3. It has overtaken Anandgiri (at Ooty) on my list of nicest places to laze around.
4. No photographs this time. The batteries in my camera went dead withougt shooting a single photograph. I just refuse to learn some things. This is probably the 10th time when I couldn’t shoot because either I had no batteries or I had no film. Though, if you want to see how the place looks in Monsoon, check out the nice stuff Ashwin has written about that place.
5. I was planning to stay there for 2 days followed by a day at Talcauvery. But I extended my stay there and didn’t go to Talcauvery. Reason? Oh well, I didn’t feel like leaving that place.
6. In California, you get to see a bigger ratio of Indians/Others than at Honey Valley.
7. It was amusing to see how we felt about the place on different days. On the first day, we were excited and were talking about how fantastic it was. The valley view is so beautiful. The forest is so deep and green. The weather is so pleasent. It would be so great in the rains. Etc etc. On the second day, we stopped talking about it but we were very conciously taking notice of our surroundings and were getting bemused by them. On the third day, all the beauty around us was just there. We were not conciously looking at it, or praising it. It was just there for us and we were idling/reading/talking.
It is very difficult to say why I liked that place. It is similar to how I felt at Udupi when I biked down there from Bangalore. And it was similar to how I felt at Anandgiri in Ooty. The first thought that crosses the mind on arrival is: ‘Ah, this is good; let’s unpack and laze’.