Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: "Cost of Free Thoughts!"

Today, Everyone claims that, he is living in a free country! But believe me; there is no such word in reality...and if there is, then the term 'free country' is actually an oxymoron! 

There is a cost involved in every free thing, because we are capable of seeing only the free (tangible part), but not the hidden costs (intangible part) involved. Specially if these are free thoughts, which question the powerful dogmatic authority...

In a recent turn of events, the award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is facing possible arrest in India on sedition charges after publicly advocating for Kashmir independence and challenging India's claim that Kashmir is an "integral part of India." If charged and convicted of sedition Roy could face up to life in prison. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays. 

Watch this interview: here.

Majority of people who are reading this post, would not agree with my stand on this issues, but those who use their reasoning abilities of their minds would support it! As a saying by famous investor Warren Buffet goes: "If majority of people say a wrong thing or believe in it; it's still a wrong thing!" 

It is the 14th of many posts written under "Idea to Ponder series" (you can visit all of them here). Stay updated, get updates via email: Click here.

Post written by Anshul Gupta. Follow him on twitter.
More Recent Posts:
  Ideas to Ponder: "Cost of Free Thoughts!"

  Fear the Boom and Bust!

  Ideas to Ponder: "Three Things that India Needs to...

  Ideas to Ponder: "Social Media-Virtual World and F...

  Ideas to Ponder: "Philosophy for Life"

  Ideas to Ponder: Good Reasons for "Believing" in G...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fear the Boom and Bust!

An awesome video: Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem!

In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there's a "boom and bust" cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it!!!

More Recent Posts:

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  • Ideas to Ponder: "Philosophy for Life"

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  • Ideas to Ponder: The Search For Hidden Dimensions

  • Why British Raj was Not that Bad for India?

  • Ideas to Ponder: "Ayn Rand Interview"

  • Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Ideas to Ponder: "Three Things that India Needs to Focus On"

    Actor Siddharth Narayan speaks on the present state of India, and what it needs to focus on. He gave this speech  on a TiE forum (an entrepreneurship forum) in ISB Hyderabad. Watch this two part spellbinding speech: 

    It is the 13th post of many posts written under "Idea to Ponder series" (you can visit all of them here). Stay updated, get updates via email: Click here.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Ideas to Ponder: "Social Media-Virtual World and Future of the Real World!"

    Here is a simple question: "Where do you see this world in the next five to ten years?" know the answer! Ok..let me ask another set of questions: "How did the last five or ten years play out for you? Like you expected?" Now I believe the first question would become more and more difficult to answer!

    The world as we know it is relentlessly changing, new economic factors are affecting the way we do business, the price of energy is creating second thoughts in the minds of a lot of people, demand on an individual's time combined with many other factors are shaping the way we look at our lives and our business.

    Nobody would have ever predicted the economic fall of these so called free markets in late 2007 (when then fell freely!).

    Today, the biggest buzzword in the world is “Social media”…everyone is talking, using, singing about it! Supporters of social media evolution are never tired of flattering about the goods that social media has brought to the society. They would talk about things like: How social media has improved the way people interact in the society. And that too in such a short span of time that, marketing professors in universities around the world are having difficult time answering questions posed by their students on influence social networking websites on marketing strategies of companies! I know that marketing Professors reading this post are feeling that pain! The basic cause of this pain is the slow realization of the emerging fact that, their Bible of marketing; “Kotler”, in no longer valid; and this is the time to say it Goodbye!

    But, when I look at the emerging influences of social media on our society; I have mixed feelings:

    On the one side; I feel that, social media has definitely narrowed down the perceived gap between different strata of society. It has made national and international boundaries meaningless. Today the flows of information communication, and more importantly knowledge communication have become smooth…

    But on the other side; it has plagued the society by making virtual relationships more important than the real relationships! Today you can have thousand of friends in a matter of months on your facebook profile, and nobody knows how many of them you would ever meet in real life! With the advent of social networking websites, the phenomenon of “social proof” has gained more strength. And if we pay close attention to the history of mankind; it is this phenomenon of “Social Proof” which has been responsible for the downfall of human civilization!

    Some people are still skeptical about the real strength of social networking. I think they need to come out of the state of denial, and move to the state of acceptance 

    Watch this video for help!: here.

    But, social networking doesn’t stop here…! There is a new phenomenon of virtual life, which is taking shape more aggressively than social media. 

    The success of virtual life lies on the fact that people are frustrated with shortcomings of their real life! And virtual life provides them a platform, where then can live a life they never could have lived before…

    I particularly liked the last lines in the above video: “Second life’s potential is incalculable. We have no clue on what future application that may be useful, but the best way to plan for the future is to build it; so get in there now and discover whole new world!”

    When reality is hard to escape, you can have the whole new world: “Avatar”, watch this eye opening video on CBS news (please wait for a very short commercial there!)

    After judging the unlimited potential of these virtual worlds (Social media and virtual world/Avatar), I am now more worried about the real world. These utopian worlds are just a medium through which people can easily run away from the harsh realities of real world!

    |"If every able person starts living in these virtual societies then who would care about the real societies?"

    14 days ago, Mashable wrote a lengthy post: “Why Social Media Is Reinventing Activism” describing the direct and indirect benefits of social media. It talked about the benefits like ‘online donation’ to ‘easy video/content/knowledge sharing’ using social media. This post was basically a response to a Malcolm Gladwell’s post “brought it up” in the New Yorker, in which Malcolm analyzed the side effects of social media evolution.

    |"There is more than what these people have analyzed, and most of that is known only to time. We can only speculate in between!"

    But one thing is for sure…we can’t stop the social media Tsunami, but what we can do is to provide it a direction in which only benefits remain. This job of providing direction is no single person’s responsibility…rather it’s a collective responsibility, where every one of us has to realize that, we are equally responsible for what happens in the virtual world as in real world! These two are never separate; they are like two sides of the same coin…

    It is the 12th of many posts written under "Idea to Ponder series" (you can visit all of them here). Stay updated, get updates via email: Click here.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Ideas to Ponder: "Philosophy for Life"

    We tend to accept that people in authority must be right. It’s this assumption that Socrates wanted us to challenge by urging us to think logically about the nonsense they often come out with, rather than being struck dumb by their aura of importance and air of suave certainty. This six part series on philosophy is presented by popular British philosopher Alain de Botton, featuring six thinkers who have influenced history, and their "ideas to ponder" about the pursuit of the happy life.
    Socrates on Self-Confidence (Part 1)
    Why do so many people go along with the crowd and fail to stand up for what they truly believe? Partly because they are too easily swayed by other people’s opinions and partly because they don’t know when to have confidence in their own.

    Epicurus on Happiness (Part 2)
    British philosopher Alain De Botton discusses the personal implications of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270BCE) who was no epicurean glutton or wanton consumerist, but an advocate of “friends, freedom and thought” as the path to happiness.
    Seneca on Anger (Part 3)

    Roman philosopher Lucious Annaeus Seneca (4BCE-65CE), the most famous and popular philosopher of his day, took the subject of anger seriously enough to dedicate a whole book to the subject. Seneca refused to see anger as an irrational outburst over which we have no control. Instead he saw it as a philosophical problem and amenable to treatment by philosophical argument. He thought anger arose from certain rationally held ideas about the world, and the problem with these ideas is that they are far too optimistic. Certain things are a predictable feature of life, and to get angry about them is to have unrealistic expectations.
    Montaigne on Self-Esteem (Part 4)

    Looks at the problem of self-esteem from the perspective of Michel de Montaigne (16th Century), the French philosopher who singled out three main reasons for feeling bad about oneself – sexual inadequecy, failure to live up to social norms, and intellectual inferiority – and then offered practical solutions for overcoming them.
    Schopenhauer on Love (Part 5)
    Alain De Botton surveys the 19th Century German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) who believed that love was the most important thing in life because of its powerful impulse towards ‘the will-to-life’.

    Nietzsche on Hardship (Part 6)
    British philosopher Alain De Botton explores Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) dictum that any worthwhile achievements in life come from the experience of overcoming hardship. For him, any existence that is too comfortable is worthless, as are the twin refugees of drink or religion.
    It is Eleventh of the many posts under "Idea to Ponder series" (you can visit all of them here). Stay updated, get updates via email: Click here.
    Post written by Anshul Gupta. Follow him on twitter.