Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Human Factor

"It's well and good to say that you want to study everything. But, you see, the physical sciences and the social sciences differ by one important thing- the Human Factor
- A professor

As a student of both the Social Sciences and the Physical Sciences, or Applied Sciences rather, I try to understand what role the human factor plays in the organization of knowledge.

The question that one can start out with is, "Should one try to predict human actions at all?" Another way of asking it is, "Is the study of economics self-evaluative?" Are we, as humans, trying to understand ourselves? The study of human civilization can be likened to self-evaluation just as much as the study of the universe can be likened to, say, geography.

The sciences explore the truth of the universe despite us. Our existence has no considerable effect on the truth. But the social sciences are much more dynamic. The premise is that human action can be predicted for a sizable fraction of the population because people respond to incentives. These responses or changes when aggregated over a large period of time can visibly change the landscape of a country. It means that the judicial use of resources over a period of 100-150 years can create a better quality of life for the population in roughly three generations.

The real per capita gross domestic product (which demonstrates the total output of a country) of the United States grew by a factor of 10 from $3340 in 1870 to $33,370 in 2000. The increase in output can be attributed to an average growth rate of 1.8% over a period of 130 years. The number seems small, but over a long period of time, it became the reason for the United States to be called a developed nation. As a science student, this creation of wealth of the nations, so to speak, is very mesmerizing. It seemed like this wealth came out of thin air. Japan's per capita GDP in 1990 was 20 times that of its GDP in 1890 (Average growth rate was 2.75%).  So where did this wealth come from?

One answer to that question would be the rise of technology. Technology was a driving factor that created access to products through processes which used the resources available in nature. It also became a boon to the service industry which could now expand its market to the globe while, for example, operating from a stuffy single-room office in the suburbs.  This access was also provided by flexible financial instruments like loans, interests, banking, etc that opened up a credit-line that gave a boost to economies. A country's political structure, location, etc, all form tertiary reasons which we shall neglect for the time being.

However, a steady growth rate, no matter how small, is hard to bring about. After a steady growth rate and a booming economy between 1990- 2000, the recession hit the Bush government hard during 2000. This turbulence in the economy is expected due to the sheer size of the system in consideration. Every year the tax payers fund a phenomenal amount that is collected without creating any value during the transfer from the tax payee's pocket to the government treasury. To put it quite simply, nothing hangs in the balance. The government uses this money for schemes and measures that set out to regulate this uncertainty in a market that tends to fail almost abruptly whenever a single financial giant goes bankrupt.

Clearly, the era of technology and banking alone does not boost an equitable model that can sustain a consistent growth rate. Policy decisions create the insulation for this turbulence. And here, the human factor comes in. One can argue that the example provided is strictly limited to economics. Psychology, Demography, Political sciences, all come under the broad umbrella of the social sciences. But the marriage of economics and policy is where a promising integration of the physical sciences and the social sciences is seen as the tools used are very mathematical, though based on assumptions that are based on our understanding of human behaviour.

The human factor is the trump card that can make or break an economy.

This sums up my two cents on why technology and banking can't sustain a growth rate that can lift an economy up and why policy decisions infact fare better at the task of improving a country's economy.

Next up:
1. Understanding Value Creation
2. Methods and Concepts of Neo-Classical Economics
3. History of Thought - Economics & Philosophy

Friday, 22 May 2015

Sayuri: In a thousand words

0 words.
Tell me how to make right
Every wrong turn that I’ve learned
so this can all end tonight
Death was close. I could feel it in the staleness of my breath as it left my chest. Was this how it was meant to be? Death: A willowy presence that smelt like old bones and ether? Had my soul festered in my body like an untreated wound? My spirits lay forgotten in a senile body and a brooding mind. Because…

Once
I was faceless
(I could have been a hundred people)
I was wrong
(I stood for a thousand mistakes)
I was no fact
(I was an unceasing story)
Once
(Why not a lifetime?)

Of all the mistakes that there could be: the mistake that I was, and the mistake that you were… the most beautiful was the mistake we were, my dear Sayuri. You are a tainted memory that I most cherish. And me? I was a mistake that had not remained. Because sometimes an honest mistake is better than a selfish success- right in more ways than it can ever be wrong- and I had chosen the latter for my name. Why did I think that the road ran straight ahead, that progress was obtained only when you kept moving? And why, oh why- I ask myself every day, sweet Sayuri- why did I choose to not stay?

Stay.

Who would’ve known that pride is so hard to swallow
As I rest on the shoulder of a road growing colder
With the trouble I own…
Should I just keep on driving?

Mistakes aren’t born, they’re made. And what excuse did we have? We were the products of war.
As the dust settled around us, and the city swore its fealty to destruction, I pulled you closer into me. Your flowing dark hair was my freedom, your earnest eyes were my beacons of hope, and your nakedness was my burning promise. I was a traitor to my nation- I had left the war to spend one night with you. You were a traitor to society- a woman who dared to question ‘civility’ by calling her body her own. Together, we were even more of a mistake that fated night.
Why weren’t we damned together, my darling Sayuri?
One little head, Two little heads,
To war, you march!
(They were only twelve)
One bad gun, Two bad guns,
Now, you’re armed!
(But war claims all children)
Oh! who’s that pretty girl?

(A pair of dark eyes peek out the window)

Tell me boy, that’s your sister, is it?

(Brothers-in-arms don’t oblige)

What’s her name?

(The curtains are drawn closed)

Knock Knock

(“What do you want?”)
Your name

..
(“Sayuri.”)


How did a seventeen year old girl win my twenty-three year old heart so irrevocably? Was it when you gave yourself to me in the darkness of your lonely house and asked me to pledge my faith to your life: your family? When you lost your honour and dropped all inklings of self-defence just so you could ask me to protect your brothers who were called to war? I couldn’t see your eyes in the darkness of the night, Sayuri. They must have been firing up with the passion of a girl who’d taken matters into her own hands and turned into a woman. I wish I had stared into your eyes that night, Sayuri. I can never do that again. Not anymore.
For, how would I tell you that your brothers suffered a quick death the very night I had made the promise? War claims childhood, war claims lives. Children hardly stand a chance.
Should I have come back to you bearing news of that ill-fated night, forgetting my lost pride for a single moment? Should I have forgiven myself? Could you have ever forgiven me?
Would it have even mattered?
As the days turn into decades, as memories turn into nightmares, as I count each breath that makes me break into a cold-sweat, I wonder if I would ever find the courage to go back to that rebirthed city which now holds my ruins alone.  And you.
Sayuri, too often I wonder…why couldn’t we have remained a beautiful mistake?
I’m stuck in time, you’re frozen in my thought. And our adventures will remain only in tales
forwarded to my grandchildren. If only I knew where you were, if only I knew what we could have been… Maybe I was destined to lose you before I ever had the chance to have you, but the heart would hope anyway.
Looking into the rear view as the roads fade away
I’ve sworn off my past
First to last bad call that I ever made
So I drove on into the sunset, my past held the shadow of one beautiful woman. I walked into crowds of men, women and children fending for themselves and for those whom they call their own. Men are cowards, flesh and bones tied together with false promises. Add more, and they stay strong, take away some and their guts fall apart. I travelled through cities meeting every kind of man that ever walked the earth: Strangers, travellers, lunatics, philosophers, musicians… I walked the earth watching every man’s passion, until I had lost my own. I lost it the minute I gave up on you. I guess, for some people, regrets make one more of a man than all of happiness, wine or women.
And my soul festered in my old body, my joints cried of a purpose never served. My passion burned and burned in my body until my regret was the singular emotion that served my memory. The minute I had made peace with my past, I lost passion for life. All that was left was an old body that could go nowhere. That couldn’t go to you.
Only death would bring back the twenty three year old man who loved through war and peace, and would now love through life and death.
1000 words 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

11.5.15



I know of people who carry raging fires inside of them. I had always wondered how dragons survived the fires in their bellies. Now I know the answer: They don't. They're like putty inside. They breathe out fire from their nostrils but their insides were never immune to the trouble they played with. We aren't safe from our own fires either, you see. They lash out at the most inane times- they warm our toes only to burn our fingers. These tall columns of oranges and yellows try to lick at our ankles and so we keep running. We watch the wisps rise; they do enchant us so, don't they?

Our stories...
They rise up with the burning dust- the last remains of our glory now go up and up; for, now is the time they meet the sun.

We screw up too often, and yet we chase our desires. We carry our hearts on our sleeves and look for a rare magic that comes from a bizarre combination of memories and experiences, glorified lines from our favorite love songs, lazy days, a long night's sleep, and, the most important of all, a happy belly. We tiptoe around iron forts, and step into quick-sands instead. We think we'll wind up, someday, as normal. Or not so much of a wild fire at any rate. But never do our mistakes suffice, and so we never do stop.

Do you equate your emotions with art?
Do you vent your heart out with a sweet song or a soulful dance, a solemn painting or an ode to the distant moon?
Does it feed your fires?
Does it inspire?

If your emotions were fire, and your art was the furnace, I ask of you... By gods, wouldn't it be so much easier if you learnt to juggle instead?



These Days.

Yesterday we were driven- a force to reckon with. We felt as if the gods could be implored into bringing to us our destiny. We'd look at them squarely in the eye and tell them, "Thought you'd need a hand, old man, so I've figured it all out by myself. You need only agree and I shall live my life; and you can be the godman, yet none the wiser." Everything we'd want, we'd chase like a simpleton. A bloody fool. The world was to be our yardstick, barely measuring upto everything that we could be, and would be.

Today we are humbled. By farewells- sweet and sour, by friendships gone bizarre (no, what's that all about? Really?), and by a family that has become the wind in our sails, edging us on into the high seas. Sometimes we're troubled by the simplicity of our own mind that asks first, and only then truly wants. By heartbreak that comes out of getting out there on a dratted impulse that goes against all reason.

And tomorrow, we'll find ourselves distant- lost in thoughts that we can't wrap our heads around, fighting expectations that don't meet any real standards. We'll wake up to the silence of the morning; a fumbling mind trying to keep up with another day caught in the vicious cycle of hope, crumble, repeat. We'll remember the quirks of yesterday, maybe laugh a mighty laugh. We'll grit our teeth at the unsettling day that followed, breaking our dreams apart piece-by-piece. We'll fret, we'll cry. We'll sing a doodle-do to make time pass by.

Because it ends, and we're ten days into the future before we know it. And before we know it, we're a thousand days past. Truth is, we never truly realize when, but our lessons slowly become a thing of history.

Inspiration for a poem, maybe?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hate.

I write on hate again

***

Hate the world, hate its bleeding guts
Hate its galling state of misery too
The way the sun rises to those who sleep their way
through hunger, desolation and despair
The way the waves crash upon barren footsteps
that lead into the weeping sea
Hate the nerve of the fortunate and ungrateful
how they take their luxuries as a birthright
Denounce the persistent ring of the school bell
that tames our senses with a farce: An education
Hate the idea of you and I- an us
For, the hateful and the hopeful are never meant to be
happy as one
And don't forget to hate every nerve ending of
your own body; it dares to feel a bitter reality
Your head shall hurt from the burden of sorrows your heart never knew,
in the short life that you lived to see the cruel world,
the hatred in your blood is no less than what is felt by those
who call themselves victims of a tragedy called Life
Contemplate your life against those lives you had the misfortune
to touch through memories, experiences, or mere stories
Weigh their fears by the whispers they bring
in the creeping presence of a daunting night
Feel. Until you are numbed to everything
that bothered to try and belong to your world
And when your hate becomes you,
ask not for love to battle its way to your heart.
Even love can be indelibly tinged
with shades of your stubborn darkness

Bury your misery in liquor, hit the nearest bar
You can tell the pitiable drunks from the party whores
Judge. Sulk. That's all you can really do at a bar when
you're not drinking to celebrate life or friendships
Then you watch her come in slowly, flaunting her perfection in your face
Follow her with your eyes hungrily, tracing her body with your sight
Could she make you forget the hatred for one night?
Can she drown your misery with her voice, her smell, her touch?
She shall taunt, and she shall tease, make you turn around by your heels
And just when you give up to watch the ice melting in your half-full glass
You will feel her gaze pierce your hard back,
Burning you back to reality so you feel a real chance
At a night of delightful company,
A perfect plan for a never-ending night
You follow her quickly, the mystery-lady,
Whisper slowly, "Hurt me not with your eyes,
Not any more. End my misery now, oh stranger dear
Take me home with you, don't you disappear"

In the silence that ensues, your eyes are locked
on her golden-browns, and you can almost feel them say
"But the sun does rise for those who despair,
they toil again, praying for a better tomorrow.
The sea washes the footsteps of the deceased
consuming their absence in its own serenity.
The fortunate: they reap the bitter ending
of a suffering of their own greedy making
The school bell rings for recess and greets
two little feet that leap around in honest joy
And the hateful and the hopeless shall never be
as one, but the disaster that they are brings tremors
that shake the foundations of nations plenty"
And thus, with her eyes still on you, and with
a lazy drink in her hands, she walks away.

But not before saying:
"Darling, Hope is not meant to stay
for just a night."
And I knew, oh, how well I knew
She was hard to please, harder to get,
but when I did, she would stay.
And I'd be damned if I didn't give a try.
For, then she'd become my Destiny.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Out of context

I don't wish to talk to you about your dreams, and loves, and aspirations
Hell no, I know, I know, you've got it all in context
I don't try to quote extraordinary men or how they said,
"This is how we live most life, can you see? Whoever breathes most air, And counts his dying days by sun and sea"
Hell no, that's not how this is gonna be.
You have it all realized in a way that I can't deny
When you talk about cigarettes and valentines, or monsters and men,
or teenage dreams, and S.E.X
That's right, sex

I place myself in context too.
In the context of a lovely audience
that has the likes of you, and you, and you
But when I go back tonight, and you go back tonight
And as we bury ourselves deeper and deeper into dark sheets that silence our heart beats
When we go back, will we remember
A blur of reds, and blacks, and blue
against a heavy night of music, and poetry too
Or will we remember a lover's sweet goodnight kiss,
or a laugh with a partner in petty crime
Oh please, do laugh, do scream, do tell her what you think,
and tell him what he means
in the context of where you are, and where you want to be

But remember that once, she was not
That once, he was not
And once, there was you,
and you alone to face the demons in the cot,
A cold bed, lined with cold dreams
that you drooled into the pillow with childish ease
Wake up to wet sheets, and morning breath,
and warm those dreams up with your bare hands
And let everyone see, all that you can be
how oil can be churned out of the golden sands

And I tell you, I tell you again
that I don't wish to talk to you about your dreams, and loves, and aspirations
Hell no, I know you've got it all in context
But then again, do you really?

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Fuck up

Fuck up. But fuck up in ways that make me want to sit down, hold you close, and untangle the mess that you are, one nip and one tug at a time.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Less to remember

What dreams are in store for you this night? Of promises long due,
left to stand by.
We've got conversations and thoughts on hold just so
you can indulge on that quick shut eye;

So I tell you
Immerse yourself in a long weightless state of deliberate
suspension
of a reality that you've always known; Of doubts
that seldom resurface on dark, dark days of gloom
And when I find you comatose, drenched in a light so heavenly, so sublime
I shall marvel at every slant that makes you, those which
only shadows can catch,
every curve that lies prefect in my line of sight;
your upturned nose, that hint of a smile.

You've fallen asleep feeling ordinary
after a long day of little accomplished,
and even less to remember
No feats so astounding that we can sing
songs in deference to-
-not for this moment, not for this point in time
No events so extravagant as to tell your niece far far away;
(they called her Apathy)
Would you care about today 15 years from now?
Would you care to tell a nightly soul who wishes to confess?

So sleep
I shall cling on to the first rays of sunshine; plunge and
turn, challenge light, if only to impress
I shall trace your face with my fingers, and watch it
come aglow, and see you again for the first time
And I'll remember how the ordinary are thus graced
with the blessings of the universe
in little things that come together when the world falls
silent
For those who fell asleep disgruntled; feeling ordinary
after a long day of little accomplished,
and even less to remember.

Truth

They say truth is lost in the typhoon that words create when they fall together,
they build up and above all dreams, stories, and fantasies
flitting in and out of context
trains of thought growing wings and flying away
like unicorns on ecstasy

Our imaginations know no bounds,
they bleed onto paper, groveling for life on a blank sheet
asking to be filled with markings of our boring existence
asking to be doodled with love and romance
asking to bear witness to our gossips and rants
asking for more, and more, and more.

But who are we kidding, this sucks
crumple 'em up, aim for the bin, shoot
Another story dies.
Like our soul does, every night.