Monday, August 22, 2011

Are we in Second Cultural Revolution?


Sometimes, it happens that we bump into some odd books and they make us curious to see what is inside? Since my childhood I have looked to businessmen as real magicians because whenever one goes, he sees their hypnotizing demos and I try hard to not miss any chance of seeing businessmen shows. In fact they are the real psychologists as they can’t afford mistakes in their observations of human psyche. They have to pay for each mistake in their observation, in the form of loss. While looking for books in the library, I found the book, “How to sell against competition” by John Fenton… Out of curiosity I leafed the book and stuck on the page of the 157 that was about Second Industrial Revolution. It reads,
“Once upon a time there was Seller’s market.
Customers clamored to buy. Supply could not satisfy demand. Manufacturers developed mass production techniques, mechanization, and automation, to try to cope with the demand for hitherto hand made products. Craftsmanship was sacrificed at the altar of volume.
It was called The Industrial Revolution.
It began 150 years ago. It was held back a few times by economic catastrophes like The Great Depression. It was stimulated by few wars. It finally died in the mid-nineteen seventies (1970s) when the Middle East marmalized the Western Civilization by whooping up the price of oil.
Since then, we have witnessing a fundamental change in people’s buying habits. No longer do people buy what they can get. No longer do they buy just one price –the cheapest they can find. (And you don’t believe this, just ask a few people what car they drive, and see how many have bought the lowest priced car that would do the job they needed it to do.)
We have entered the Second Industrial Revolution.
The first was based on Quantity. The second Industrial Revolution is based on Quality.”………….
………Reading these paragraphs, I was wondering if we are in the Second Cultural Revolution? Why I got this idea? ……
Every fundamental change in economy, technology or in social structure accompanies a cultural change. Of course, First Industrial Revolution had accompanied a cultural revolution but it was limited to West as East mostly missed the Industrial Revolution, the main machine of cultural revolution. Apart from West the rest of world got colonization and later reactionary movements against the colonization so most of Cultural Revolution in East was tied to colonization and reactionary movements rather to Industrial Revolution. It is natural that one expects two very different types of Cultural Revolution in the East and West. I think one doesn’t need a college degree to list the main differences among cultural revolutions of East and West.
West; Sacrificed family system, religion and craftsmanship to democratic, Scientific and liberal endeavors…..
East; though saved the family system and religion to some extent became more sensitive to religious, ethnic, cultural and national identities as well as to accommodate the Western influences within their identities……
It seems that the first modern cultural revolutions took very different courses. Just like Mr. Fenton is defining the First Industrial Revolution by sellers’ market, the same definition was true for the First Cultural Revolution…. People in West were welcoming anything under name of democracy, Science and liberalism not with much consideration into their contents and this great love for main values of first cultural revolution have evolved to some extent to prejudices……..
The same is true for the East, people overwhelmingly welcomed everything under name of religion, ethnicity, culture and nationalism without analyzing the contents and today they are paying for what they have welcomed, religious extremism, ethnic conflicts and a very clear divide between conservatives and liberals…………
By information Big Bang (popularization of World Wide Web) the world is witnessing the second Cultural Revolution. It looks like this time there is no big divide between the West and East however the divisions that was created by first cultural revolution is still there….. What would be the face of global community in next 10 to 20 years when the generation of the second Cultural Revolution takes charge of the world? Anyone can say with certainty that heads will think with very identical values but of course with different versions of them (That is very natural)….
How come one can say with certainty? The main reason is the change in behaviors of cultural consumers. People exposed to diversity of global cultures will definitely choose the better ones and it also put pressure on the producers to work hard for better products (In cases where producers retreat, the people themselves will take charge of production…the most novel case is the Science reporting. With retreats of main media giants from Science reports, Scientists have established their own blogs to fill the gap. The same is true in all spheres of life. People are no more passive consumers but they also produce wherever there is decline). So we are expecting of evolution and betterment of global culture (until now there is a general consensus that the general trend of global culture is towards slumming and most of people (especially older generation) take it as downgrade of culture)…. It all depends on the works of people who are currently in charge of producing culture…. At the moment we are going through a transitional stage and the Chaos is the main mechanism of transition….
How Chaos work? Nobody can have better explanation and demonstration than geneticists…Very small and random changes can result in very different outcomes…So let’s see what kind of changes will lead to tipping points? We can put our parts and hope for better ones :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Philosophers…..What they are not?


I don’t exactly remember the source of this story,
…………Once upon a time there was a man who fallen in love to a prominent lady of the city… He was trying to reach the lady but the guards of her residence were not allowing him to meet her…He couldn’t think of anything except of her…and he was eating, sleeping, walking and talking in her love…Everyday he was writing his painful condition in a letter and was going to her residence but like always… the guards weren’t allowing him…. The story of one-sided love become famous and people started talking about it…The lady heard about her lover and she ordered her maidservants to bring him to her…. When he entered into her room, he opened his bag and took out hundreds of letters that he had written to her…and started reading them to her…. The lady was passionately listening him, reading the letters and after an hour or two she stood and slapped him in the face and said, “You fool, I am sitting in front of you and instead of talking to me, you are reading me the letters that you have written over years…………….
So is the condition of the Philosophers…who claim that they are fallen in love to wisdom. The wisdom is living in flesh, in the form of people, around them and they look for it, into language, numbers and symbols…… May be I am underestimating Philosophers as there are a lot of people who love wisdom and looking for ways to fall in love with wisdom….If there weren’t some people who like to become Philosophers, there weren’t Philosophy departments in Universities and a lot of publications in Philosophy each year… Even Philosophy became a tool for diplomacy in international affairs (Iran hosted last year’s world Philosophy day conference with collaboration of UNESCO…USA and EU opposed the conference and UNESCO was forced to withdraw its support of conference)………. There are a lot of materials on lives of Philosophers but I got surprised when I come across the Ian Ravenscroft’s article, “How to be a philosopher” in the Philosophy now magazine…. In which he counts nine things one have to do in order to become a Philosopher including, what to wear, What to eat, What to drink, What to read, What to think about, How to think about it, Talking about it, Lighten up, Living and dying…… Wow, that is cool, I said to myself… it is like when somebody gets admission to a school, he gets a prospectus in which all the instructions are written (Welcome to a conditioned life)…….But that is not my first time encounter of “how to become a Philosopher”…. It brought back a lot of my college time memories………
During my college years, we read about famous “Tea House” which was a nursery of big names in Pakistani literature…so we had specified a corner in colleges’ grassy plot…. where we were talking about our creative endeavors…. I still remember one of my friends who was doing everything that people in Tea House was doing….He was smoking cigarettes in the thinking style (Though I have an allergy to smokes but I was tolerating his smoking…in order not to disturb the creative process….May be you are laughing right now…At least, I am laughing while writing this…)… He was chewing Paan leaves….Betel Leaves… (He had an adorable look when his lips were red), drinking a lot of milk tea, always wearing white dresses and had a teacher who were correcting the rhyme and was advising him on the contents of his poems…
Despite of my love for writing, I didn’t have a creative flow…He was quick in identifying the problem…”creativity has its own life style…How can you expect to come up with great ideas by your simple and rigid life style???….” And then he was advising me for changes in my life…so the BIG ideas start liking to live in my skull…………… First and most important thing…. fall in love (I wasn’t able to understand how to fall in love…Zap!!!) so the intensity of feelings soar…. Start smoking to increase concentrations (The omnipresent dusty atmosphere of Quetta was more powerful than tiny smokes of cigarettes….), start wearing white dresses so the senses become very sharp to catch the very Delicate ideas (Thanks to swarms of vehicles in the city, everyday…. after coming from college when I was washing my face, a large amount of black soot was coming out of my nose and throat….I knew that my lungs were as black as baker’s chimneys…. In this atmosphere, how could white dresses help me in sharpening my senses)…. Drink a lot hot milk tea (The only advice that I followed with full zeal…until I found that the milk tea is the biggest culprit of Diabetes in Pakistanis…then I quit drinking milk tea to replace it with green tea, mint tea and occasionally chamomile tea)………..and have a teacher who correct and guide me in my writings (Frankly, I was thinking that rebellion against tradition is the primeval condition of creativity so I didn’t want to break anybody’s heart by my rebellious and argumentative nature…especially the one who takes the charge of my guidance)………Occasionally and in between lines… I was trying to say that Diogenes and Socrates two big names of Philosophy (Antisocial Philosophers)….hadn’t followed any of these recommendations…then I was thinking that perhaps historians didn’t report these important secrets of these Philosophers (That is the silliest way to convince myself so I could keep shut my mouth to not hurt a friend that was so dear to me)
Well, I failed to follow the instructions and didn’t become a poet or a philosopher...and so is true for my friend…. We become equal (the one who followed = the one who didn’t follow)……..though there are still stark differences in our life styles……
So when I come across such articles that are about, how one can become a Philosopher…. I loudly say…Come on…for God’s sake…Philosophy is not modeling…You don’t need a conditioned life (Though one needs an examined life and that has no formula or recipe book to follow)….