Wiring Kindness


Today has been an interesting day in our household. On my way back from work my brother called me to say his wallet had gone missing. It wasn’t the biggest surprise to me as it was in his pocket and he was in train which was packed in peak hours. And I guess it happens sometimes – Lucky he didn’t have much cash in the wallet, still he had lots of cards to block, renew and replace.

We were only just fretting over getting this done that my brother got a notification on his Instagram, that he had been tagged in a photo. Shockingly, it was picture of his wallet and he was tagged by a girl he had never heard or seen before. She said he should contact her and take the wallet off her. Turns out he had dropped his wallet while he was on the train and this kind lady had found it there and then looked for my brother on Instagram from his name and photo ID. My brother messaged her and he couldn’t have been more thankful, and later this week they will meet to have his wallet returned.

This episode gave me a reality check of how technology has changed our lives and it make me think why we talk so much about how is has made our lives complicated, occupied and inhumane – sometimes I think we lack a sense of positivity and we forget to think about all the great things it makes us capable of doing. Even if the lady had found the wallet, there was no way of her contacting my brother unless she went to his university and got his details, which would have meant so much effort and time. I think technology has amplified our habits, capabilities and it is helping us reach our potentials, while we still learn to completely and effectively incorporate it into our lives. So the people who are kind, have greater opportunities to do something good with their increased accessibility and connectivity and people who are not, they wouldn’t be any different without technology either.

Today I am proud to be born in this era of technological advancements.

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Respond to the world..


“The higher your mountains are, the deeper your valleys will seem. You should not react to the world. You should respond, but not react. A response is an action based on logic. A reaction is an emotional state. Your reaction will not change the world. Your reaction only changes you. Your response will change the world.”

 

– Humans of New York

The Techno-Culture


If luddites were alive now they would be stunned by what ‘lives’ look like and mean in this day and age. That’s probably why we don’t have many luddite-likes these days. The technology has evolved at an incremental pace and by Moarse Theorum, this is only going to increase in the future, so those of us with that luddite-side to us should probably prepare for scarier times. Earlier, I had a conversation with my friend who happens to have that luddite-self to her and some very interesting things came up which made me think.

Out of everything else that shapes our world and ‘culture’, I think social media comes under most scrutiny as it affects our social lives directly in ways so obvious to us, however the technology doesn’t limit its impact on our culture there by any means. I see that we have taken a while to completely understand what social media serves for us. I hardly think it was supposed to BE our social life. It serves a greater good for impression and connections management. This opens up the never ending and never concluding debate of how good or bad this is for us and I find myself split between the two ofcourse, but not for a second doubting how technology has done wonders to make us the most progressive (in some sense) than we have ever been in our kind.

Surely, there’s trade for quantity over quality. Now we can do so much, experience so much but what we actually take away from the experience is probably now limited. Although, that makes complete sense. The more of what you have, the less you value it and ofcourse technology does consume a part of our attention all the time. For better or for worse, I think social media and technology is beyond just an innovation and has now set values and culture for the Y-generation and this is only going to increase.

My take on the matter remains less sceptical. However, the way you incorporate technology in your life does determine it all. I believe the social media is not a substitute or form of social ‘life’, infact it is only a tool to supplement your social life and a tool for ease of staying in touch and managing your impression. This ideas is not new either as fretting over aesthetics and beauty is not a new idea for anyone and neither is that of impression management. With powerful systems handling our social media, there’s only one thing that’s changed, the information. The ‘quantity’ of information. So, now you can say more, store more, show more, know more and the down side is probably that the ‘noise’ in the system takes away from the quality we experience. If we learn to make it complement, not a substitute for our social interactions, it really wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. However, the ever increasing numbers of depressed people, irresponsible use of technology and social media and society of control and spectacle, do worry me. Guess, everything comes with pros and cons & just because it seems like an efficient lifestyle, we don’t always need that in every department of our lives.

I am sharing this video because it raised some thought provoking ideas in my mind (Thanks S).

Wonders in Diversity


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There is no doubt that the notion of diversity in organisations, institutions and societies is the new ‘in’ thing, especially in places like London. The lessons of acceptance and humanity that diverse societies bring are invaluable and it maximizes our horizon of what is meant by cultures and values, primarily by the means of focusing on differences we see in different backgrounds. The word ‘diversity’ in itself originates from different, unique and variation.

But what I experienced of diversity today was very different from any of these mainstream ideas suggest. Undoubtedly, I do enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds which sometimes surprises you by the variation of kind of ideas people hold. But having heard story of my own limitations, values, ambitions and inhibitions from another fellow colleague from completely different background (which I never imagined to share the same problems and perks as me) made me realise how the focus of diversity only on ‘different’ is extremely unfair, biased and off-putting. In a completely diverse individuals in terms of backgrounds, I had found the exact ambitions and problems as mine, which I have to say are not very common even from the people that share the same background as mine.

It made me realise how the culturally and ethnically diverse communities not only allow us to look beyond the backgrounds and differences but also give us the chance to cherish what we have in common, the extent of which can sometimes surprise you!

While there is difficulty in adjusting with different people (along with excitement about learning from those differences), there is so much comfort in finding out so much that joins rather than what separates you. The most influential language that exists is of humanity and everything else including thoughts, values, wants, needs and desires can be built on that.

Art of taking an interview: Authentifaking


There are million different verdicts about what does and does not work in an interview. But this blog is not about consolidating all of those ideologies, infact this is to share an interesting response I came across in the Financial Times, where a candidate asked “Should you be yourself in an interview?

And the editor replied by quoting something that she called Authentifaking which means that ‘most people who’ve got to the age of 29 have mastered quite a few selves. There is a self with your friends, the self when talking to your boss and the self when lying on the sofa playing GTA5.’

Financial Markets: Broken down to their very core


Earlier this week, one of my friends shared a thought provoking video clip, which I find very worth sharing. It breaks down the whole financial system and complex functioning of the financial securities, multipliers, economic reforms etc to something that everyone is more than capable of understanding. In essence, it is a simple, basic and amusing illustration of how the financial markets function.

It takes me back to how hundreds of years ago coinage for money was replaced with cheques against the gold coins, which later became notes and now, only a depiction of value created by the Central Banks that print currency against, nothing! However, the system really is very firm and well established, yet complex – so I don’t disregard each of its contributions (liquidity, pace, security,..) to the businesses and money management in general; it does however lay at the heart of Capitalist agendas and the system.

The very first banks (or something what could be vaguely defined as banks) was created when gold coins were used as money and it wasn’t very unusual to be looted when traveling for trade, which exposed the traders to risk and insecurity. Some people however, saw an opportunity to open ‘bank’ that would issue notes against the gold coins, which could be redeemed back for gold, allowing people to travel safe. Years of such practice meant that businessmen would just exchange the ‘notes’ against gold rather than actually redeeming that gold. The basic mechanics of financial markets can be seen to have been born in this setting, when at that point an extra charge of gold/ money was required to redeem the gold that had been deposited earlier, which is exactly the definition of interest i.e. price of money. What we have now as currency is far from what the gold or the ‘notes’ meant, but surely it represents a buying power- one that decreases every second as the currency inflates in an economy.

(Despite, the video having some strong views/ language, I think the information is rather interesting and useful!)

Changing Spectacle? Or the Image?


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At times, it is unsettling to think what goes on in many parts of the world today. Exploitation of the poor, starvation, greed of the nations, massacre? It won’t be wrong for me to suggest that most people think that world used to be a better place than it is today. But it got me thinking, what is it that has truly changed? Were the poor never exploited before? Were there no starving children like in Africa? Or any massacre like the one in Burma? Was there no conflict between the powerful and the powerless?

Gazing through the window of history, I realized it wasn’t the first time these things had happened. There was genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and forests and homes brought down in Ecuador’s exploitation for oil after the 1970s. So, what was it that had changed? It would be a safe bet to attribute this to the flow of information which has become more and more fluid through the years.

The rise of broadcasting and social media has perhaps lubricated how easily we find out about what goes on in other parts of the world, both positive and negative things. So, may be the world hasn’t become a worse off place, we’ve just started seeing more clearly and quickly. That is why it’s called the age of information and they say awareness is the first step towards solving the problem!

But the problem of exploitation presents itself alongside. As the media becomes so powerful, one is bombarded with so much of information, all of which might not be true and sometimes manipulative? Being critical of what we do or do not listen to becomes inevitably important.

Let this abundant information empower us into knowing more and doing more!

Image Courtesy: Sundish Ejaz