Change

Two recent events inspired this piece, though have been rambling over it for quite sometime now. First one was a discussion in the Consumer Behavior class about the construction of hyper-reality by the upsurge in marketing and advertising activities in recent years. The other one was a discussion on the newsgroup about the increasing absenteeism in many courses in the institute. Out of so many gone things of good-old-days that were cited as rTwo recent events inspired this piece, though have been rambling over it for quite sometime now.

First one was a discussion in the Consumer Behavior class about the construction of hyper-reality by the upsurge in marketing and advertising activities in recent years. The other one was a discussion on the newsgroup about the increasing absenteeism in many courses in the institute. Out of so many gone things of good-old-days that were cited as reasons, one that came up was decreasing interaction amongst seniors and juniors due to increasing number of computers with the students all over the campus (One of the postings expressing similar views as in this article of mine also encouraged me to write it down, finally🙂 ).

Change is something human kind has always seen, always accepted eventually and still, has always dreaded. As much as all the philosophers, historians and evolution-theorists would tell us that change is inevitable, we still try not to accept it, we still look at it with contempt, almost invariably so. Most of the things which make big issues at present, in course of time turn out to be another fuss over change. True, there are periods of transitions, filled with chaos, confusion and ambiguities regarding principles and practice. These are the things always disliked by human kind. Hence, no wonder that the fuss is always there.

But the idea is that finally the winners of the next generation emerge out of such chaos only. They are the ones who are the first to realize that this is another one of those transition periods. They go ahead and start building systems, which rule the world in the coming days, when the change has finally been accepted. Almost equally true is the fact that rarely anyone consciously shapes the consensus that arises out of these conflicts. True, the visionaries are there, who are able to look at things with more objectivity. But that is where they also stop. This is the only (significant nevertheless) advantage they have over others. The realize that “its (that chaos) okay”, but even they have to watch out what actually is happening or will happen.

Possibly before these rather “opportunist” visionaries, come the leaders of the change. Sometimes, they can be recognized and pointed out, in other cases, it might not be possible. But again their real effect in the final consensus is rather small. If the change has to come at a large scale, the vision of the leaders is bound to distort, adopted to the needs of localities, groups, classes and individuals. Distorted to the extent that the leader might want to call off the changes, but would have little control left over things.

Almost everyone in the class seemed so concerned about the effect of upsurge in marketing activities and advertising over people’s perception of reality. I interrupted by giving the parallel of the change from feudal system to democracy. Can we not imagine people used to feudal system expressing equally dangerous possibilities associated with democracy. Did “democracy is the system of fools” not have a sufficiently impressive logic (possibly even today)? Would the changes in the societies have not been followed by a confusion about roles of individuals and groups in the society? And how many of us today would consider democracy, anything but the natural thing, even if it has its problems and flows? Consider similarly the construction of hyper-reality – distorted perception of reality – creation of hyper-clean, heavenly looking reality with consumer goods. Have we not really lived with all these things with art forms, drama and literature? Have these not always co-existed with the reality and if anything, have given the mankind strength to survive? Two kinds of arguments came up. First one relating to the scale. With advancement of technology, the scale and expertise with which the hyper-reality construction can be done, concerns people. Again, this is a change – change in the scale. Probably people would have dreaded the change as much, when human kind graduated to drama, from simple story-telling, creating the “hyper-reality” at a much bigger scale than earlier, with props and costumes. Do we now fear that it will distort our perception of reality? Fact is that as the ability to scale up the activities increases, so does the “maturity” (if I may call it) to take them in the right way (the chaos of transition period not withstanding). Another argument was that in past whenever these art-forms existed, those were very consciously considered to be elitist art-forms and hence common mass would not be “led astray” by their existence. I will come back to the example of democracy now. Why do we have to deny the art-forms of new age to common masses? Otherwise, would similar logic not fit in for feudal-system and democracy too. Why would an advocate of feudal system be wrong in saying that common masses should not participate in state-affairs, possibly because they do not have the expertise and shall not be able to do the job properly and shall cause everyone including themselves in the state to suffer. No until, the change was brought about was it obvious whom the democracy is good for.

I appear to be taking a stand that change is always good. Well, to an extent yes. But I will not deny that it need not be good, as such, all the time. What I would rather like to say for such things is that society needs to experiment. It will make some mistakes, inevitably, but then probably those are needed for maintaining the dynamism, essential for the very survival of the society.

What shall I say about the effects increasing number of computers in the campus? I shall not say anything other than this that it is a transition period. Hopefully new structures will emerge out. While it is always possible to try to find some possibilities, my belief is that they would not emerge by any conscious efforts. I know, I will invite some wrath over it, but let people like me and many others (even more intense than I am), who crib about the old days pass out – possibly things will start taking shape, if for nothing else then the necessity. Talking of possibilities, one thing I can think offhand is that possibly the newsgroup discussions would emerge out to be of much better quality, once the chaos is over. With a new computer coming to some room every other day, everyone is eager to show his/her presence to the online community spurting out almost anything coming to his/her mind. Once that anxiety is gone, possibly saner things would happen. But I would not fight to prove that this will happen. Just a possibility.

I know I irritate people when I say Galaxy should be revived only after that last batch which has heard of it has passed out to avoid unnecessary clinging to the past.🙂

Also, I must take some safety measures for myself, before finishing this article, by declaring that the article by no means intends to claim that I am the most rational person in the world never resisting changes🙂 Also, last bit of disclaimer in the form of the statement that the definition of change and no-change can itself be very subjective in many circumstances. The article is not meant for analyzing those intricate cases.easons, one that came up was decreasing interaction amongst seniors and juniors due to increasing number of computers with the students all over the campus (One of the postings expressing similar views as in this article of mine also encouraged me to write it down, finally🙂 ). Change is something human kind has always seen, always accepted eventually and still, has always dreaded. As much as all the philosophers, historians and evolution-theorists would tell us that change is inevitable, we still try not to accept it, we still look at it with contempt, almost invariably so. Most of the things which make big issues at present, in course of time turn out to be another fuss over change. True, there are periods of transitions, filled with chaos, confusion and ambiguities regarding principles and practice. These are the things always disliked by human kind. Hence, no wonder that the fuss is always there. But the idea is that finally the winners of the next generation emerge out of such chaos only. They are the ones who are the first to realize that this is another one of those transition periods. They go ahead and start building systems, which rule the world in the coming days, when the change has finally been accepted. Almost equally true is the fact that rarely anyone consciously shapes the consensus that arises out of these conflicts. True, the visionaries are there, who are able to look at things with more objectivity. But that is where they also stop. This is the only (significant nevertheless) advantage they have over others. The realize that “its (that chaos) okay”, but even they have to watch out what actually is happening or will happen. Possibly before these rather “opportunist” visionaries, come the leaders of the change. Sometimes, they can be recognized and pointed out, in other cases, it might not be possible. But again their real effect in the final consensus is rather small. If the change has to come at a large scale, the vision of the leaders is bound to distort, adopted to the needs of localities, groups, classes and individuals. Distorted to the extent that the leader might want to call off the changes, but would have little control left over things. Almost everyone in the class seemed so concerned about the effect of upsurge in marketing activities and advertising over people’s perception of reality. I interrupted by giving the parallel of the change from feudal system to democracy. Can we not imagine people used to feudal system expressing equally dangerous possibilities associated with democracy. Did “democracy is the system of fools” not have a sufficiently impressive logic (possibly even today)? Would the changes in the societies have not been followed by a confusion about roles of individuals and groups in the society? And how many of us today would consider democracy, anything but the natural thing, even if it has its problems and flows? Consider similarly the construction of hyper-reality – distorted perception of reality – creation of hyper-clean, heavenly looking reality with consumer goods. Have we not really lived with all these things with art forms, drama and literature? Have these not always co-existed with the reality and if anything, have given the mankind strength to survive? Two kinds of arguments came up. First one relating to the scale. With advancement of technology, the scale and expertise with which the hyper-reality construction can be done, concerns people. Again, this is a change – change in the scale. Probably people would have dreaded the change as much, when human kind graduated to drama, from simple story-telling, creating the “hyper-reality” at a much bigger scale than earlier, with props and costumes. Do we now fear that it will distort our perception of reality? Fact is that as the ability to scale up the activities increases, so does the “maturity” (if I may call it) to take them in the right way (the chaos of transition period not withstanding). Another argument was that in past whenever these art-forms existed, those were very consciously considered to be elitist art-forms and hence common mass would not be “led astray” by their existence. I will come back to the example of democracy now. Why do we have to deny the art-forms of new age to common masses? Otherwise, would similar logic not fit in for feudal-system and democracy too. Why would an advocate of feudal system be wrong in saying that common masses should not participate in state-affairs, possibly because they do not have the expertise and shall not be able to do the job properly and shall cause everyone including themselves in the state to suffer. No until, the change was brought about was it obvious whom the democracy is good for. I appear to be taking a stand that change is always good. Well, to an extent yes. But I will not deny that it need not be good, as such, all the time. What I would rather like to say for such things is that society needs to experiment. It will make some mistakes, inevitably, but then probably those are needed for maintaining the dynamism, essential for the very survival of the society. What shall I say about the effects increasing number of computers in the campus? I shall not say anything other than this that it is a transition period. Hopefully new structures will emerge out. While it is always possible to try to find some possibilities, my belief is that they would not emerge by any conscious efforts. I know, I will invite some wrath over it, but let people like me and many others (even more intense than I am), who crib about the old days pass out – possibly things will start taking shape, if for nothing else then the necessity. Talking of possibilities, one thing I can think offhand is that possibly the newsgroup discussions would emerge out to be of much better quality, once the chaos is over. With a new computer coming to some room every other day, everyone is eager to show his/her presence to the online community spurting out almost anything coming to his/her mind. Once that anxiety is gone, possibly saner things would happen. But I would not fight to prove that this will happen. Just a possibility. I know I irritate people when I say Galaxy should be revived only after that last batch which has heard of it has passed out to avoid unnecessary clinging to the past.🙂 Also, I must take some safety measures for myself, before finishing this article, by declaring that the article by no means intends to claim that I am the most rational person in the world never resisting changes🙂 Also, last bit of disclaimer in the form of the statement that the definition of change and no-change can itself be very subjective in many circumstances. The article is not meant for analyzing those intricate cases.

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