A Curious Mind W(o/a)nders

Monday, August 31, 2009


How much time in our day goes off for just "maintenance" !

You sleep, you exercise, you eat, you study the same thing that you've studied earlier (coz you've forgotten), you talk to friends periodically, you watch movies or go for outings regularly...so many other things which are just maintenance! By "maintenance" I mean the effort to ensure that your life does not become worse than what it is currently...status-quo.

You or I am probably lucky because maybe our work itself involves some attempt (usually unsuccessful :) ) to push some limits of understanding. But if you look around you, most professions are "pure maintenance jobs"...ensuring that the world remains status-quo!!

But mind you, it is not easy to maintain status-quo...the laws of thermodynamics require that you have to put in "an effort" to stay even "the same"!!! But thats all the effort that most humans put all their lives!

Yet mankind would not have come this far, if we had been pure "status-quo-creatures".
A majority might like the comfort of "sameness", yet there is that slim minority of "crazy people" always trying to play at the frontiers...pushing the limits...ready to get a bloody nose 9 times so that in the 10th attempt they can figure it out...its a different world altogether at these fringes... Would we have survived as a race without this "crazy bunch"...??

Lets try to formulate all this abstraction through a simple mathematical analogy :)
If we assume human lives to be one-dimensional lines on a plane, the attempt to maintain status-quo would correspond to keeping the first derivative (i.e. slope) constant.
Most humans are born into a slope (in real world terms "social standing"), or early in career rise into a social standing with a certain slope function. Most of the rest of life is spent in keeping up that slope function. If you are able to see visually what I'm trying to explain, you'd intuitively understand that it takes an effort to keep the slope of a line "positive" under these assumptions!

The "crazy bunch" on the other hand is working for the second derivative (or acceleration).
The only issue is this...if you manage to generate a high acceleration without getting the direction of velocity (first derivative) right, it might just be a magnum-opus disaster! :)

Well, its damn funny if you begin to look at the human race at various levels of abstraction. Just like the landscape view keeps changing as you take-off in an aircraft (its breathtaking, right!)...and patterns which you never noticed when on earth become clearer and clearer as you start looking at it from the sky...the human puzzle too shows its hidden clues if one can cultivate the habit of looking from different heights...heights of abstraction :)


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