Two tigers and a philosopher

One day a philosopher was passing through a forest. He encounters a tiger with a tiger cub calmly lying down with their chins touching the ground. The tigers see the philosopher and offer a very dumb look. The philosopher says, “Look at yourselves lying down with absolutely nothing to do, no clue of what’s going on, not good enough brains to think, leave aside thinking about thinking, merely existing.”

The tiger blinks and the cub blinks twice. He continues speaking contemptuously, “Does your species even ask questions like – why do we exist and”

The tigers ate the philosopher.

Painting recipe

In an interesting turn of events, I started painting! The best part here is – how simple, fascinating, enjoyable and satisfying this could be. And if you take my word – you can paint too. Everyone can paint. Take a brush, take some color and show your wizardry. That’s it, there is to it(atleast for the lazy skeptics).

Until now(the time of writing this post), I have made 3 paintings. I will be uploading them here as and when I make them. I have realized that I am an expressionist. But, that’s just what I am doing currently. My aim is not be a great painter and seldom do I know before hand as to what I want to make or what colours I will use. It happens in the moment. Leave your mind on that blank canvas with all the colors and let it paint.

So how do you paint? Do you feel you are a terrible painter? Are you afraid of the critiques? Do you think you are too old to paint? Is your choice of colors poor? Are you too much of a right guy that you cannot risk painting something “wrong”? Are you very busy in life? or Do you believe in photoshop?

How to get started? I started simple. Get normal drawing sheets, brushes, and a 12 color paint box.

How to paint? Well, this is the easiest part. If you have reached here, the road ahead is interesting and easy! Just sit down with those colors, brushes and the paper and start painting. That’s it. Start putting colors onto the paper the way you want. If you just don’t know what to paint, just don’t care about it and start filling the paper with colors as you please. If you want to make something that you see or make a clone of a painting you have seen online or somewhere, then just go for it. It might be the case that you pretty much suck at it, but that’s just the beginning. Keep going. If at the first go, you want to make the blue skies and mountains, you might be decently successful. If however, you want to paint Mona Lisa, go ahead but don’t expect a master piece to just come out the way it is. It might come out properly, in which case you are really good at it. If it doesn’t, paint something else, or try again. Whatever. Mostly, if you don’t complicate things too much and are free with your painting it will take 1-2 hours per painting and the value you will get out of it will be worth it.

What if someone doesn’t like your piece of work? You shouldn’t really care. This is not for them to like it. It is for you to create it. If however, someone likes it, that should be good.

What if you yourself dont like it? That’s fine. Try to analyse what don’t you like about it. Is it the colors? Is it the shape? Is it the thought that someone else didn’t like it and hence you are not liking it? After answering this, paint again. You will be glad at your instant progress.

Paint more, paint free/

Do one thing well

This isn’t a self-help post, in any way. I need help myself :)

If you are a GNU/linux user, (I have been a linux user for approximately 4 years now) this concept of doing one thing well shouldn’t be alien to you. Even if it is, you haven’t paid attention to it. For the unaware ones, this “unix” philosophy dates back to the time of its creation and it actually means this – Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together. (That is why we have pipes in unix :)) It is similar to the concept of decoupling things when possible. The concept is very simple to comprehend, it just says, decouple things such that the task you do are meant to do just one thing and will get fixed in the bigger picture somewhere. Going a step ahead, to the thing about “unix pipes“, the idea is also analogous to building-blocks of any system or think of these small things as parts of a lego-kit which are senseless, simple objects who do one thing, by virtue of it’s shape and ability to be fixed in the bigger picture maybe a house, a kid is trying to build. Infact, now that I think of it, this philosophy shouldn’t be alien to most.

Recently, I have been reading other blogs like zenhabits, power-of-less, etc/ It’s surprising, how this small, yet elegant and powerful philosophy, the so-called unix philosophy is also the content of many self-help and advice books who (try to) help people get things done. As simple as this concept might sound, it is very difficult(not impossible) to put to practice in real lives, I think. I have been failing at this, for some time now but I have realized some loopholes in my way of “doing” this philosophy. In real life, things overlap invariably. You cannot just break down things, but if you can in whatever ways, I am sure it helps. Essentially, it will help you focus on doing that thing well and generally the task won’t be overwhelming as most tasks are when you start it.

Also, the best part of this philosophy is that unlike a monolithic way of doing things, I mean without segregating into smaller tasks that “do one thing well”, if something breaks, you will very often know which one thing isn’t doing its part well. Fixing that would be easier than to figure out whats wrong and change lots of things around it, in the other case. Well, you can say, this is what humans call “planning”, which I would agree to, in some way, but believe me, it always helps to have a strong philosophical backing and probably now you can look at things in a more fragmented and discrete manner, for the betterment. Atleast, I believe in trying this out, to reform my “ways”. Also, one need not overdo it. This is also an essential concept in itself to help you “plan” properly.

After all, 40 years of unix of doing one thing and doing it well is a big example.

Views and dimensions

Most of the times, we conclude things looking at it’s relative nature in some obvious form with respect to a already known thing. For eg: A particular thing A is very often marked as being opposite to some other thing B based on its obvious characteristics. Think of your views as vectors(you might want to read some basic on vectors before going ahead, though it”s not particularly necessary), then such a view is seldom even in the 2-dimensional world. We say or believe in things according to this 1-dimensional view because we tend to simplify or tend to look at things or believe things in a simple way, mainly because of 2 reasons – either we are too lazy to get into the logistics and details and complexity of higher dimensional views of a possibly small phenomena or we are incapable of seeing things in higher dimensions(in most cases, the higher dimension starts from 2 itself). Stay with me..

In the simplistic 1-dimensional view about things which many tend to go for or “mentally” believe in, we categorize most things as being on a single straight line, graphically. Most views that possess some basic characteristics fall on one side of the zero of the line while others on the other side. There’s nothing wrong with this view. In fact, looking at this entire thought from a new perspective(direction) it’s good that most of us try to atleast see things in a simple way, possibly always, which help them probably to take decisions in life(I believe it’s your views which help you form decisions).But seldom do people delve into higher or even the second dimension. I agree it might not be necessary to delve into 2nd or higher dimensions of thoughts while trying to choose a coffee to drink out of 4 alternatives, but most other things in life arent so simple to be viewed on a line.. or I would strictly say “one-dimensionally”

Have you come across things where there is no right or wrong? Or you tend to be more verbal while saying it but you cant figure out what exactly? Thats just the case when you go to higher dimensions. We tend to form simplistic views or even if not simplisitic – 1-dimensional, I would say we try to figure out as many zeroes in higher dimensional matrices of our thoughts and views(given the meanings of the rows and columns for that particular view). It’s better to have a higher dimensional view of things pertaining to most things where many zeroes exist than to curb entire dimensions out! Point is, it would be easy to change views in higher dimension say occuring due to a change in a particular way of thinking about it, which might merely be a change from a “zero” to “one” or whatever in a particular row and/or column. But in the 1-dimensional way of thinking, this change can be disastrous, as there is only one parameter which you figure out isn’t set correctly! It might be the case that your long lived view has to change and you don’t want it to.

[There is one something to be added here.. soon]

Compiling views of higher dimensions and approximating it for lower dimensions is still not that bad. If only, the entire human race could understand this and not have one-sided opinions. Sometimes, I have seen people being heavily opinionated on things by looking at it in only one direction. Sounds stupid now, right? Believe me many do this and they surprisingly are fine in life, not to mention the occasional side-effects they might cause to people who don’t have such a simplistic or a rather naive approach. I have seen this flaw, in many opinionated people, including me, (as well as not so-verbal most others) they tend to see what they want to see. I have tried hard to come out of this. It’s not easy, but first, you have to understand that you are a part of this group which tries to be of a particular mind-set. I have hardly met people who take pains to fix their views and thoughts. It’s not impossible for people to see things, it’s just that people find it very hard and the more the time has passed, the difficult it is to look at the other side or maybe also the other angles of things. Most views and thoughts are formed without proper reasoning whatsoever, they are being formed, while you are talking to your friends, watching some movie, or maybe while reading some blog. It’s not exactly related to being stereotypical, though somewhat, sometimes.

How do we rectify all this? Well, all I can say here is start contradicting your smaller beliefs and views. Talk to people who view things differently. See what are the pros and cons and if that matter is actually important to you, be objective enough to actually write out your thought matrix. It will make your view much clearer and help you understand yourself much better, I think. I have been under constant problems with myself, sometimes, way to intensive. There is no right or wrong, and all there is left is to understand yourself more and most importantly be honest to yourself. This could be the most difficult thing you would have ever done, atleast mentally, under NTP. It’s definitely not trivial and if you feel, it is then you are not being honest to yourself. Coming back from that diversion in thought..

Most things can tend to be infinitely complex, even a small decision of what coffee to order. We definitely cannot solve that infinitely big set of equations to arrive at that trivial decision. And humans, unknowingly are good at curbing most external noises but one has to be aware as to what degree of thought needs to be put and how complex or in other words, how big your thought matrix should be! Your output can be as simple as a yes or no but, you have to know yourself, know your instincts and know your well formed other thought matrix which helps us take decisions at any point in time. Say you are facing a view point discussion at this time ‘t’, then your view will invariably be a function of many other views which were formed until now(assuming what you are talking about is more than just a trivial topic of discussion) and if these views weren’t formed in the correct way or are just 1-dimensional then you have virtually removed data points which can over time affect your most viewpoints in the future(not necessarily, but do you get the point?). Also, I have read it somewhere – Ones beliefs is not what one should be proud of. It makes perfect sense. You should be proud of your ability to look at things from various directions and carve out the logic for your belief, then the entire thing – the logic, the dimensions, the directions, the ability to change bits when required, bundled together is something you should be proud of. If only…