Love may conquer all but eventually convenience triumphs over love.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
"Cloth" - a synonym for textile - has the same meaning as "clothe" - to cover. Naked things, like naked people, demand to be covered. In covering nakedness, whether of people or of things, we accomplish these five basic purposes:
1. We protect and insulate
2. We facilitate contact with the world
3. We hide defects and weaknesses
4. We give the appearance we wish to give
5. We decorate
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Los Angeles (LA) is known for its creativity and entertainment. Silicon Valley (SV) is known for its technology and innovation. Because of the new technologies and changing consumer behavior, the fields of entertainment and technology are converging. Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. are changing how entertainment content is created, consumed, and monetized. The merging of entertainment and tech was the foundation of my own startup, EVER, I launched two years ago to satisfy the human curiosity that occurs when you see and like something new on TV. Pitching EVER took me from Silicon Valley to LA almost every week for over eighteen months. I navigated the entertainment industry relying on what little information was available in the marketplace on how this industry operates and my own background in technology and experience working in the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem for a few years.
In the most simplistic terms, in SV, a startup creates a product and is funded by a Venture Capital firm and sells its product to consumers/customers. If the product sells successfully, everybody involved in the process makes a lot of money. In LA, a production company (startup) creates a product (tv show/movie) and is funded by a studio (venture capital firm) and sells its product to the TV network/distributor (customer). If the product sells successfully, everybody makes money except the production company.
|Photo credit: Wikipedia|
I noticed a few key differences in how business is done in Silicon Valley vs Los Angeles. They are:
1. Introductions: For a startup to do deals, raise money, hire people, you need introductions. In LA, my focus was deal-making. I met a lot of people who were very excited about what we built and were eager to help me. But, this help came with a price tag -- sometimes up to $25k per month. Their point of view was that if they are helping me with an introduction or a deal that will make me a lot of money, they should be compensated for that in cash now; like a lobbyist. And, in LA, most of the deals are done in back rooms and not through a formal purchase process. In SV, the point of view is different. If people like your idea, they generally introduce you to people for deals, capital, or talent without any expectations. The assumption being that I might do the same for others and when I am in a position to help, I help. If somebody engages with you to work for a few months on a deal then, generally, they get equity in the startup and no cash. In LA the networking is cash driven and paid up front. In SV the desire to help make introductions is based on anticipated equity should the startup be successful.
2. Communication: People in LA are very good at making anything exciting. If you want to feel good about anything you are doing then just share the idea/demo with somebody in LA. They will tell you that the demo is the best thing they have ever seen and they can see it taking over the world, etc. They promise to help you get in the door, make introductions, and so on. As a startup founder, you want to hear that so you believe it. Often you never hear from these people again. Your emails and phone calls go into a black hole. In LA, less than ten percent of my meetings turned into good leads or valuable information and in SV the ratio is probably 30-40%. In SV, the conversations are more honest, direct, and realistic. People are just as busy in SV as they are in LA selling and networking but in SV people tell you the opportunities and challenges related to your startup. Overall, my experience in LA was that of smoke and mirrors, while in SV the culture is more accountable and, generally, people follow up on what they promise. It might have something to do with the players in the respective marketplaces. Tech people are not known to be great salespeople, we have to hire them. LA is full of great salespeople because they have to sell all the time to survive.
3. Openness: Every new idea is a secret in LA. People protect their ideas because they can be easily stolen. The entertainment industry is a tight, relationship-driven industry. If your idea is with an established entity, it most likely won’t get stolen because they have to maintain a reputation. The mindset in LA is not to tell anyone about your new idea until it is in production. SV is the opposite. People talk openly about their ideas with other people, get feedback and refine their ideas. It might be because the execution defines the success in SV, not just the idea. In LA, the execution is relatively easy. You have the producers, studios, and the network. The execution machine works well. In SV, the resources are available but the founder has to create the execution machine from finding people, investors, and customers.
4. Self-promotion: In both LA and SV, people are always self-promoting.The difference is that in LA, people do that for survival. Lots of people who work in the entertainment industry to create TV shows, movies, etc. do not have salaried jobs. They get paid per project. So, if you meet somebody when they are looking to get hired for a new project, you will always be a lower priority because they’re working on getting their next paycheck. In SV, lots of people have salaried jobs so when they are doing self-promotion, it is for their next gig. And, all startup founders are always promoting the startup and themselves but it is not for their next paycheck. Hence, the thinking is more long-term compared with LA.
|Photo credit: Wikipedia|
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Why do we do anything? Why do we want anything? What leads to our actions or inactions? What makes us social? Why do we compromise? Some say that human life is driven by fear. It is fascinating how society functions and how many variations there are of society. However, the core of human nature is the same all over the world. In my observations, our social lives are highly influenced by three distinct fears -LLP:
1. Fear of Loneliness
2. Fear of Effort (Laziness)
3. Fear of the Unknown (Predictability)
Evolutionary biology tells us that a desire to procreate and to self-preserve dictate a lot of our behavior. I think the modern world is much more complex. Reliance on another human is being replaced by commercial goods and services. Time is our most limited resource and it is primarily consumed to earn money and/or to satisfy our senses. Is that all there is? Let's see how LLP plays a role in our daily social lives:
1. Loneliness: It is really hard for us to sit alone in a room and do nothing. Try it and see if you last more than five minutes. Loneliness can be very painful. It makes you think about the meaninglessness of life. Comfortableness with nothingness is probably the hardest thing to achieve for a human. We look at our phones constantly or watch TV or drink wine or eat food or read, etc., but it is really hard to do nothing. Why do we seek attention on social media? Why are we exchanging messages or pictures all the time? It is to escape loneliness. People have friendships and relationships, which lack mutual respect because people would rather be with somebody than nobody. Human relationships are complex and difficult so many people choose a relationship with a pet rather than with a person. A much easier way to escape loneliness! There are 75M+ pet dogs and 80M+ pet cats in the US. We spend ~8 hours per day looking at screens (TV, phone, laptop, etc.). Why can't we be alone?
2. Laziness: We tend to avoid physical and mental effort. It is much easier to read a tweet than a policy paper. It is much easier to buy a lottery ticket than to find ways of making money, which require a lot of hard work and risk. Some people tend to stay in romantic relationships when all the love and romance is gone because it is a lot of work to date and find someone else. Why do we like TV? Because it is a medium that requires no mental or physical energy and we get entertainment. Reading a book requires much more mental energy. We tend to follow what society expects of us without questioning and making up our mind about issues because thinking is a lot of work. Geroge Bernard Shaw famously said, "Few people think more than two or three times a year. I've made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."
3. Predictability: We like our whole life to be planned and everything to go as we plan. We want to know what the weather will be tomorrow, and if it does not turn out to be as sunny as forecasted, we get upset. People stay in jobs that they find miserable because it is predictable. Going to a new company or doing something else would require dealing with the unknown. Psychic services is a multi-billion dollar industry. We like to plan the future of our children. Stock markets run on predictability. We choose our life partners based on their predictable behavior. Would you marry someone, who does not behave predictably? Ironically, we are a product of the random selection of genes.
Loneliness, Laziness, and Predictability are interconnected with Loneliness being the biggest fear. Sometimes, we put effort (not being lazy) into a relationship (to escape loneliness) to have a relationship that lasts forever (predictability).
Sunday, January 15, 2017
|Representation of human spirit?|
But whether the visage we assume be a joyful or a sad one, in adopting and emphasizing it we define our sovereign temper. Henceforth, so long as we continue under the spell of this self-knowledge, we do not merely live but act; we compose and play our chosen character, we wear the buskin of deliberation, we defend and idealize our passions, we encourage ourselves eloquently to be what we are, devoted or scornful or careless or austere; we soliloquize (before an imaginary audience) and we wrap ourselves gracefully in the mantle of our inalienable part. So draped, we solicit applause and expect to die amid a universal hush. We profess to live up to the fine sentiments we have uttered, as we try to believe in the religion we profress. The greater our difficulties the greater our zeal. Under our published principles and plighted language we must assiduously hide all the inequalities of our mood and conduct, and this without hypocrisy, since our deliberate character is more truly ourself than is the flux of our involuntary dreams. The portrait we paint this way and exhibit as our true person may well be in the grand manner, with column and curtain and distant landscape and finger pointing to the terrestrial globe or to the Yorick-skull of philosophy; but if this style is native to us and our art is vital, the more it transmutes its model the deeper and truer art it will be. The severe bust of an archaic sculpture, scarcely humanizing the block, will express the spirit far more justly than the man's dull morning looks or casual grimaces. Everyone who is sure of his mind, or proud of his office, or anxious about his duty assumes a tragic mask. He deputes it to be himself and transfers to it all its vanity. While still alive in subject, like all existing things, to the undermining flux of his own substance, he has crystallized his soul into an idea, and more in pride than in sorrow he has offered up his life on the altar of the Muses. Self-knowledge, like any art or science, renders its subject-matter in a new medium, the medium of ideas, in which it loses its old dimension and its old place. Our animal habits are transmuted by conscience into loyalties and duties, and we become "person" or masks.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Last month, I was in Victoria, BC, to attend a workshop on Awareness based on teachings of my favorite philosopher, Krishnamurti (K). The workshop was held at the Krishnamurti Education Center of Canada. It is a beautiful and calm place, perfect for introspection. Following are my random notes from the workshop:
1. What drives our actions? The general understanding is that thought drives action. Hence, we try to control our thoughts with meditation. The idea is that if you control your thoughts then you will control your actions and if you control your actions then you will be happy. Everybody is looking for happiness and the cause for happiness or unhappiness is thought. However, K says that what you think is result of the state of your mind. And, the state of mind is influenced by one's unconscious. So what one thinks is caused by one's unconscious and thought becomes the effect and not the cause of one’s actions.
2. The Mind, which always wants to satisfy senses, overindulges in pleasures. Why is it that animals don't overeat? They listen to their bodies. Humans listen to their mind more than they listen to their bodies.
3. Social conditioning influences how you satisfy your senses. Some societies prefer beer and others prefer wine. Some like frog legs and others like lentils.
4. The morning is the best time to get in touch with your unconscious because during sleep the unconscious is active and the conscious is resting. In the morning, a conscious mind is not fully active and that is an opportunity to tap into the unconsciousness. During the day, conscious takes control over unconscious.
5. Consciousness is what we are aware of i.e. it has content (e.g. thought and knowledge). Pure consciousness is without knowledge. K says that you need this pure state of consciousness to see things as they really are.
6. K's meditation is to observe thoughts. See how the mind transitions from one thought to another. The observation should occur without knowledge and interpretation. This observation slows down the conscious mind and gives the ability to tap the unconscious.
[My question was how does the mind observe itself i.e. there is no separation between the observer and the observee. Apparently, that is when you find The Truth or God when the observer and the observee are one]
7. To understand self, one has to let the mind be in the raw form i.e. no conditioning.
8. Exercise: To slow down the mind, lie down and exhale deeply. Don't worry about inhaling, it will happen automatically. After ten minutes of deep exhales, observe your thoughts.
9. Awareness is consciousness without interpretation i.e. pure consciousness.
10. At physiological and psychological levels all humans are the same. Different conditioning makes us different and creates social or imagined boundaries among humans.
11. "Life is changing." This statement is a conclusion that most people have drawn. Any conclusion about life is dangerous because it obstructs observation. Don't form the conclusion. People tend to start repeating the conclusion and stop discovery.
12. Exercise: Sit at a quiet and comfortable place and write down any questions that come to your mind for half an hour. Don't think about the questions, just keep on writing whatever is coming to your mind. With this exercise, the mind gets cleaned because it has to face itself and you get deeper into your unconscious.
13. At the end of an intense physical or mental activity there is a moment of silence in the mind.
14. When the body is relaxed, it is easier to observe the mind.
15. Meditation is choiceless awareness or thoughtless awareness. With meditation, the mind is aware at the moment.
16. Meditation is not trying to still the mind or seek concentration or focus. When you focus on something, your mind is in conflict because it fights with things you don't want to focus on. A mind in conflict can never be calm.
17. Conscious mind either suppresses or indulges.
18. Meditation is not something you do. Even trying to be aware is not meditation. Just being aware is meditation and not becoming aware.
19. Love = The Truth = Beauty = God
20. Who I am is a product of my thought. The thinker tries to change the thought that created it. How does thought change thought?
[I did not quite get this. Of course, thought can change thought. A person who is product of a society and can change society, etc.]
21. Exercise: No mind meditation. Speak gibberish for an hour. Get louder as time passes by. The idea is to let the unconscious come out because language comes from the conscious mind and when you speak a language the conscious mind is active. Basically, make random sounds without thinking anything. After an hour, lie down and observe the mind.
22. There are always conflicts in our consciousness.
23. Chanting calms the mind and the body because of the vibrations it creates.
24. Most of us are intellectually trained. Society wants only the intellectual output and not the total output that includes emotion and body.
25. Why a part of me, the intellect, has become supreme? It dictates everything - morality, virtue, daily life, etc. Why is the intellect so important in our life?
26. We live in the past or the future and never in the present.
27. The intellect is an isolating process. It creates the idea of I. We start thinking in terms of my this and my that. It creates a separation between me and everyone else.
28. I know nothing but the past. There is security in the past because it is certain. The dissatisfaction of the past is the hope for the future. The intellect creates the security in the past and hope in the future. That is why it dominates everything including emotions.
29. When we like something, we want to repeat that experience and want to have permanence in the experience. E.g I had a glass of wine I like. I must have it again. Or, I have a car for the last ten years so I must have it forever.
30. We live in the center created by the intellect. It is a self-perpetuating center. And, it is all about me. How do we break from this center?
31. Can we live in harmony among emotion, body, and intellect? The idea of harmony is not somewhere in the future. It is harmony now. With harmony, there is no conflict among body, emotion, and intellect (reason). You live as a whole.
32. If you make an effort then the intellect is driving it. With awareness, there is no directive or effort.
33. When you look at things through the intellect there is justification, condemnation, etc. When you look at things in harmony, there is no judgement, condemnation, etc.
34. Control has become important in our lives. We want the body, emotion, and intellect to follow certain direction. Don't resist. Just be aware. It is the awareness that can create harmony.
35. Harmonious life is possible by observing with attention. What you are observing is not important.
36. Joy is different than pleasure. Joy is in the present and is beyond senses and pleasure is sensual and wants to be repeated.