Why Learn, Why bother ?…
A 6 year old girl once went to her elder sister who was in the kitchen.
She saw her frying fish (I have every right to start with fish , I am a bengali !) and in astonishment, asked her , ‘Dee, why did you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it?’
Her sister took a while and said, ‘Why?, I dont know, but mom does it this way so I do it this way too.’
Hearing this the little girl ran to her mother and asked, ‘ Maa, why do you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it? Dee told me’
Her mother too, took a while to think and said, ‘Why?, I never thought about , I don’t know, but your Granny does it this way so I do it this way too.’
The little girl became more inquisitive than ever, she really wanted to find the answer to this question. In this quest, she ran towards her granny, found her and asked, ‘ Dadi, why do you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it? Dee and Maa do it too , they told me’
Of her old age, her granny took a while but finally figured it out with a gleaming smile; ‘I don’t know why they cut it , but I did it because my frying pan was very small.’
…In our world of make-belief
Every time I hear this story, apart from becoming hungry, I also am forced to ask my self, ‘ Am I doing the same thing? Cutting the head and tail off the fish without knowing why?’ In fact, think about it , are you doing the same thing ?
When was the last time you decided to learn something new and actually used it with a bit of compassion?
If it wasn’t yesterday, are we doing even close to what we are capable of doing as people? If no, why not so ?
These are some questions that keep coming back to me, every time someone says something about ‘How they are forced to, supposed to,told to,taught to, made to or confined to do something?’ How in the hands of fate they are simply stuck? or in extreme cases infected by depressing movies, like ‘Ram Gopal Verma ki AAG’ , find themselves almost at the world’s end.”
People complaint about boredom, about monotony and about that ‘something’ missing from life.It is just the ignorance for what is available and what can be done in most cases.
We start treating our philosophy as facts and live in that world of make-belief. A world that says, after you are 40, you are done with most of your life and learning is not your ball game anymore. You can sprinkle some emotions by saying ‘ You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. What is to prove?’
Funny thing, it is not only a challenge with people, even organizations face this music. I’ll give you an example, Kodak first developed the digital camera, maybe too soon and that did not gel with the business plans of the worlds No.1 film manufacturer. They put it in the cold bag and went conservative, 3 years later , they were almost out of business. And they were not, the only big fish with a million business forecasters, that went really wrong.
There is always a right way, a right strategy, right age, a right time, a right direction. Most of our actions are governed by what we are supposed to or not supposed to do based on things which are supposed to or not supposed to work. Who decides that, moreover, why is it more of a law than just a suggestion?
These suppositions spoil our freedom and cloud our judgement, crippling our ability to learn. This lack of comfort, peace and openness is called conformity.
Sometimes its with systems, sometimes with society, sometimes with values and mostly with our own mindset.
And the very few people who dare to stand out, are thrown out, mostly to be appreciated later. Look at Einstein, Jobs, Gates, Bacchan and the list is endless.
…Find your way to evolve
Those who argue, will argue that non-conformity is chaos. It’s random, unpredictable and hence not social enough to fit into our lives. But let’s look at it from the other side of the greenfield; what is not chaos is boring like our college lectures, what is not random is often to too structured like our education system, what is not unpredictable is just around average like our political reforms; and all because we are suppose to do things a certain, pre-defined way. Where is the room to breathe and experiment? Where is the room to learn?
Every invention was, is and always will be an example of non-conformity. Buddha was non-conformity, so was your special short cut to your girlfriends house, so was your signature style at college, so was your special strength area at work,so was that situation when you had no clue what to do , yet ‘Jugaad’oed’ your way through. In other words, you did things differently and experimented because that was the only way to evolve! Wise decision. P.S.( I didn’t say so, Darwin did.)
That was the real learning that happened, the question for you to answer is, how often do you manage that kind of stuff.
That 6 year old girl I was talking to you about earlier,asked a lot of questions, most of us don’t even dare or bother doing so. How much do we learn? How much have you evolved? Dont answer it, just find the answer, only if you feel like!
Learning is surely not necessary, its not in the rule book but neither is survival.
Here is what a non-conformist would say his philosophy of life is; Be open to listen, Be curious to learn and Be yourself to live at peace. That is true non-conformity. But, only if you like!