June 30, 2018

Excerpts to remember - work in progress

"He saw an evening when he sat slumped across his desk in that office. It was late and his staff had left; so he could lie there alone unwitnessed. He was tired. It was as if he had run a race against his own body , and all the exhausation of years, which he had refused to acknowledge, had caught him at once and flattened him against the desk top. He felt nothing, except the desire not to move. He did not have the strength to feel - not even to suffer. He had burned everything there was to burn within him; he had scattered so many sparks to start so many things - and he wondered whether someone could give him now the spark he needed, now when he felt unable ever to rise again. He asked himself who had started him and kept him going. Then he raised his head. Slowly, with the greatest effort of his life, he made his body rise until he was able to sit upright with only one hand pressed to the desk and a trembling arm to support him. He never asked that question again." - Hank Rearden

"When Dagny left the Board room and walked through the clean, cold air of the streets, she heard two words repeatedly clearly, insistently in the numbed emptiness of her mind: Get out...Get out...Get out.

She listened, aghast. The thought of leaving Taggart Transcontinental did not belong among the things she could hold as conceivable. She felt terror, not at the thought, but at the question of what had made her think it."
(Why didn't she listen to that at that moment?- is the question. Why stay till it becomes impossible to go on?)

“He wondered why this was a motive that had no power to impel him. Throughout his life, whenever he became convinced that a course of action was right, the desire to follow it had come automatically. What was happening to him. - he wondered. The impossible conflict of feeling reluctance to do that which was right- wasn’t it the basic formula of moral corruption? To recognise one’s guilt, yet feel nothing but the coldest, most profound indifference-wasn’t it a betrayal of that which had been the motor of his life-course and of his pride?”

"And then she thought of a remark she had heard a few years earlier. It was a strange remark - and it was strange that the words had remained in her mind, even though she had thought them senseless at the time. The man who said it was an old professor of mathematics, a friend of her father, who came to their country house for just that one visit. She liked his face, and she could still see the peculiar sadness in his eyes when he said to her father one evening, sitting on the terrace in the fading light, pointing to Fracisco's figure in the garden, "That boy is vulnerable. He has too great a capacity for joy. What will he do with it in a world where there's so little occasion for it?" (create more occasions for it - Simple! :) )

"I'll give you a hint. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." - Francisco d'Anconia.
(Works in almost all cases - yet to find an exception. Always check your assumptions - before drawing any conclusion, after any change made: significant or not. Its true for any scientific analysis - guess for any analysis of any kind. We usually forget the assumptions - assume that they will be valid for all circumstances once made. It ends up being garbage in, garbage out. Pity we make decision based on such results and forget the basics, the fundamentals, on which those results are based. This is the most common mistake I have seen people make..
The second one is taking any theory or model as absolute truth. "All models are wrong, some are useful" - they are simplified version of the reality so have a lot assumption in built. One of the most ,important question to think about is how the model was validated or tested and what was the limitation of the data used to validate the test.
I consider Atlas shrugged as a model created by Ayn Rand to demonstrate her point. Like all models, it is a simplified version of reality but it is a logical model that does demonstrate the point she was making. I have yet to find a flaw in her logic that she uses to derive her point. And yes it does happen in real world. Human do react in similar  way one they see dishonesty win, because we are all taught the same moral/ethics as a child. So either stop teaching those morals to the future generation or start applying them in real world. Contradictions/gap between those two is what causes unrest, frustration. Politicians are the easiest target to blame in that case.)

"Dagny, you want to crawl? You don't know what the word means and never will. One doesn't crawl by acknowledging it as honestly as that. Don't you suppose I know that your begging me was the bravest thing you could do?..." - Francisco d'Anconia

"You're the most immoral man living - you think of nothing but justice!" - Hank Rearden's mother

"Thought- he told himself quiety-is a weapon one uses in order to act. No action was possible. Thought is a tool by which one makes a choice. No choice was left to him. Thought sets one's purpose and the way to reach it. In the matter of his life being torn piece by piece out of him, he was to have no voice, no purpose, no way, no defense.

He thought of this in astonishment. He saw for the time that he had never known fear because, against any disaster, he had held the omnipotent cure of being able to act. No, he thought, not an assuance of victory- who can ever have that? - only the chance to act, which is all one needs. Now he was contemplating, impersonally and for the first time, the real heart of terror: being delivered to destruction with one's hand tied behind one's back.

Well, then go on with your hands tied, he thought. Go on in chains. Go on. It must not stop you...But another voice was telling him things he did not want to hear, while he fought back, crying through and against it: There's no point in thinking of that...there's no use...what for?...leave it alone!

He could not choke it off. He sat still, over the drawings of John Galt Line, and heard the things released by a voice that was part-sound, part-sight: They decided it without him... . They did not call for him, they did not ask, they did not let him speak... . They were not bound even by the duty to let him know- to let him know that they had slashed pat of his life away and that he had to be ready to walk on as a cripple... . Of all those concerned, whoever they were, for whichever reason, for whatever need, he was the one they had not had to consider.

The sign at the end of a long road said: Rearden Ore. It hung over black tiers of metal...and over years and nights...over a clock ticking drops of his blood away...the blood he had given gladly, exultantly in payment for a distant day and a sign over a road...paid for with his effort, his strength, his mind, his hope.... Destroyed at whim of some men who sat and voted...Who knows by what minds? ...Who knows whose will had placed them in power?- what motive moved them? - what was their knowledge? - which one of them, unaided, could bring a chunk of ore out of the earth? ...Destroyed at whim of men whom he had never seen and who had never seen those tiers of  metal...Destroyed, because they so decided. By what right?


Feeling quiet and empty, he told himself that he would be alright tomorrow. He would forgive himself the weakness of this night, it was like the tears one is permitted at a funeral, and then one learns how to live with a open wound or with a crippled factory.


He felt a desolate loneliness, of a kind he had never known before. He thought that Gwen Ives and Mr. Ward could look to him for hope, for relief, for renewal of courage. To whom could he look for it? He, too, needed it, for once. He wished, he had a friend who could be permitted to see him suffer, without pretense or protection, on whom he could lean for a moment, just to say, "I'm very tired," and find a moment's rest. Of all the men he knew, was there one he wished he had beside him now? He heard the answer in his mind, immediate and shocking: Francisco d'Anconia." - Hank Rearden
[Funny, how I always identified with Francisco d'Anconia while Gayathri with Hank Rearden. I always found Rearden a bit of martyr - more accepting of unnecessary suffering. Never thought I will be quoting him. Guess life happens!]

"Don't dwell on any of it- thought Rearden, through the silence of many evenings, fighting the sudden access of that new emotion which he did not want to feel- there is unspeakable evil in the world, you know it, and it's no use dwelling on the details of it. You must work a little harder. Don't let it win.

[...] He had no time for pain, no energy for anger. Within a few weeks, it was over; the blinding stabs of hatered ceased and did not return."
(Getting there! :))

"Moments later, when she saw the look of control  returing to his face, she said, "Don't ever get angry at a man for stating the truth."

[...] "Hank, when you're able to keep down the anger, tomorrow or nexr week, give some thought to that man's explanation and see if you recognize any part of it." "
(Although, I have heard so many lies lately - wouldn't know the truth, if it bit me.)

"if she loves me, why doesn't the damn coward say so and let us both face it in open."
(she need to say that - I know she does but sometimes it need to be said.)

" "Why, yes I can," said Midas Mulligan, when he was asked whether he could name a person more evil than the man with a heart closed to pity. "The man who uses another's pity for him as a weapon."

[...] It was said that the last person to see him, on the spring morning of his disappearance, was an old woman who sold flowers on a Chicago street corner by the Mulligan Bank. She related that he stopped and bought a bunch of the year's first bluebells. His face was the happiest face she had ever seen; he had the look of youth starting out into a great, unobstructed vision of life lying open before him; the marks of pain and tension, the sediment of years upon a human face, had been wiped off, and what remained was only joyous eagerness and peace. He picked up the flowers as if on a sudden impulse, and he winked at the old woman, as if he had some shinning joke to share with her. He said, "Do you know how much I've always loved it - being alive?" "

" "So you think that money is the root of all evil?", said Frncisco d'Anconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?"

"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money, Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor - your claim upon the energy of men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil? "

"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of whear without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain food by means of nothing but physical motions - and you will learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth."

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of gun or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at a expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of lazy? Money is made - before it can be looted or mooched - made by effort of every honest man, each to extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows he can't consume more than he has produced."

"To trade by means of money is the code of men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescibe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgemen.t of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss- the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery- that you must offer them values, not wounds- that the common bond among men is not exchange of suffering, but the exhange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade- with reason, not force, as their final arbitrer- it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judegment and highest ability- and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?"

[...] "[Money] will give you the means for satisfaction of your desires, but  it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality- the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of mind."

"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for incompetent. The man who attempts to buy the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgement, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has nit discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?"

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth- the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. [...]. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?"

"Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce on your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to man's vices or man's stupidity? By catering to fools in hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? (That's why people hate Mondays and love weekend - don't they? We spend more than half of our life working - it should be always something we love and not hate or despise but for some reason its fashionable to hate your work. Why hate half of your life? What a waste!) If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an acheivement but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it wold not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?"

"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?"

"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money- and he has good reason to hate it. The overs of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it. (and that's why I don't worry about money - I know I can earn it because I deserve it)"

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonourably; the man who respects it has earned it."


"But money demands of you the highest of virtues, if you wish to make it or keep it."

"Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard- the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money-the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminal-by-right and looters-by-law- men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims-thenmoney becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they have passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. The the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then the society vanishes, in a spread of ruin and slaughter."

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion- when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing- when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods but in favors- when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them but protect them against you- when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice- you may know that society is doomed. ""

(when act of honesty is seen as an exception and not as a norm- when people thank you for being honest- you can imagine how rare honesty have become in the society. 
Honesty is a long term investment - for lack of a better term- brand name its long term benefit. We are now living in a short term world. Technology is evolving so fast that if you don't buy something right away, it will be outdated. In such short-term short-lived fast-paced world, people have stopped thinking about long terms. Guess that's why we only perceive short term benefits and forget about long term benefits. If it does not gratify right away, it is useless. Patience is a virtue that we are loosing. We need to stop and evaluate - what really matters to us instead of lookiing for the next thing that will provide short-term gratification yet again. And its just not life - its society, its politics, its economics - we need a long term vision instead of short term gratifications.)

"My way of trading is to know that the joy you give me is paid for by the joy you get from me- not by your suffering or mine. I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. If you asked me for more than you meant to me, I would refuse. If you asked me to give up the railroad, I'd leave you. If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gainns and the other loses is a fraud. You don't do it in business, Hank. Don't do it in your own life."
(My standard answer to any sentence that began with "If you are my friend..." or "If you like me..." or "Someone or the other's "Kasam"" - I am not your friend or I don't like you or I will do exactly the opposite after the said "Kasam"  right away, like "I swear by whoever or whatever that my name is not Richa. What's next?". Surprisingly, I never lost a friend. Even more surprisingly, they took my word for things and never asked me to swear by any one. Emotional blackmails only work if you are ready to be blackmailed. If they really value you, love you, they wouldn't ask you to do something you don't want to do - at least they will not start with such emotional traps. If you are willing to do something, they wouldn't need those traps. Sometime people, for some unknown reason, have a tendency to go a round about way about things that are way straaightforward. For example, thinking I won't take medicine, when I know more than any one else how much I need them, is hilarious.)

" "The evaluation of an action as 'practical'. Dr. Ferris, depends on what it is that one wishes to practice." "

""You ought to know, Mr. Rearden. You're one of the last moral man left to the world."

"If you want to see an abstract principle, such as moral action, in material form - there it is. Look at it, Mr. Rearden. Every girder of it, every pipe, wire and valve was put there by a choice in answer to te question: righ or wrong? You had to choose right and you had to choose the best within your knowledge- the best for your purpose, which was to make steel - and then move on and extend the knowledge, and do better, and still better, with your purpose as your standard of value. You had to act on your own judgement, you had to have the capacity to judge, the courage to stand on the verdict of your mind, and the purest, the most ruthless consecration to the rule of doing right, of doing the best, the utmost best possible to you. Nothing could have made you act against your judgement, and you would have rejected as wrong - as evil - any man who attempted to tell you that the best way to heat a furnace was to fill it with ice. Millions of men, an entire nation, were not able to deter you from producing Rearden Metal - because you had the knowledge of its superlative value and the power which such knowledge gives."

"Are you proud of the rail of John Galt Line?"
"Because it's the best rail ever made."
"Why did you make it?"
"In order to make money."
"There were many easier ways to make money. Why did you choose the hardest?"
"[...] in order to exchange MY best effort for the best effort of others."
"When you strain your energy to its utmost in order to produce the best, do you expect to be rewarded for it or punished? [...] By every standard of decency, of honour, of justice known to you - are you convinced that you should have been rewarded for it?""

(Seven years of "Meet expectation" and a redundancy? Failing me in Strategic Management?)

""Then if you were punished instead - what sort of code have you accepted?"
""When you felt proud of the rail of the John Galt Line," said Fracisco, the measured rhythm of his voice giving a ruthless clarity to his words, "what sort of men did you think of? Did you want to see that Line used by your equals-by gaints of productive energy, such as Ellis Wyatt, whom it would help to reach higher and still higher acheivement of their own?"
"Yes", said Rearden eagerly. (not just my acheivement- but giving me credit for mine. That's decent, that's honourable - that should be norm.)
"Did you want to see it used by men who could not equal the power of your mind, but who would equal your moral integrity - men such as Eddie Willers - who could never invent your Metal, but who would do their best, work as hard as you did, live by their own effort- and riding on your rail - give a moment's silent thanks to the man who gave them more than they could give him?"
"You're guilty of a great sin, Mr. Rearden, much guiltier than they tell you, but not in the way they preach. The worst guilt is to accept an undeserved guilt- and that is what you have been doing all your life. You have been paying blackmail, not for your vices, but for your virtues. You have been willing to carry the load of an unearned punishment - and to let it grow heavier the greater the virtues you practiced. But your virtues were those which keep men alive. Your own moral code - the one you lived by, but never stated, acknowledged, or defended - was the code that preserves man's existence. If you were punished for it, what was the nature of those who punished you? Your was the code of life. What, then, is theirs? What standard of value lies at its root? What is its ultimate purpose? Do you think that what you're facing is merely a conspiracy to seize your wealth? You, who know the source of wealth, would know it's much more and much worse than that. Did you ask me to name man's motive power? Man's motive power is his moral code."

"Mr. Rearden," said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, "if you saw Atlas, the giant (actually he was a Titan but ok) who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling, but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulder - what would tell him to do?"

"To shrug." "

""What were you doing?", asked Rearden.
"Just amusing myself.""
(That's what I do in the library...amuse myself! Actually that's what I am doing these days - amusing myself. :) )

"She wanted to force upon him the suffering of dishonor - but his own sense of honor was her only weapon of enforcement. She wanted to wrest from him an acknowledgement of his moral depravity - but only his moral rectitude could attach significance to such a verdict. She wanted to injure him by her contempt -  but he coud not be injured, unless he respected her judgement. [...]  Her only power was the power of his viture. What if he chose to withdraw it?
An issue of guilt, he thought, had to rest on his own acceptance of the code of justice that pronounced him guilty.
"Do you mean that you are refusing to obey the law?" asked the judge.
"No, I am complying with the law - to the letter. Your law holds that my life, my work and my property may be disposed of without my consent. Very well, you may dispose of me without my participation in the matter. I will not play the part of defending myself, where no defense is posssible, and I will not simulate the illusion of dealing with a tribunal of justice."
"A prisoner brought to trial can defend himself only if there is an objective principle of justice recognized by his judges, a principle upholding his rights, which they may not violate and which he can invoke. The law, by which you are trying me, holds that there are no principles, that I have no rights and that you may do with me whatever you please. Very well. Do it."
"Mr. Rearden, the law which you are denoucing is based on the highest principle - the principle of the public good."
"Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time when men believed that 'the good' was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good through the violations of the rights of another."
"I will not help you to pretend that I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognized. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you to pretend the you are administering justice."
"- that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction."
He looked at the people around him. They had cheered him today, they had cheered him by the side of the track of the John Galt Line. But tomorrow they would clamor for a new directive from Wesley Mouch and a free housing project from Orren Boyle, while Boyle's girders collapse upon their heads. They would do it, because they would be told to forget, as a sin, that which had made them cheer Hank Rearden.
Why were they ready to renounce their hughest moment as a sin? Why were they willing to betray the best within them? What made them believe that this earth was a realm of evil where despair was their natural fate?"
(Honestly, why? Why betray the best you can be? For what? How can anyone give less than their best -and I don't mean best excuse but the best effort- to their own life, to themselves? What is more important? Moral integrity, honesty is part of that best possible you.)

" "Fracisco, do you remember? - we both believed, when we started , that the only sin on earth was to do things badly. I still believe it.""

"Dear Miss Taggart:
   I have fought it out for three weeks, I did not want to do it, I know how this will hit you and I know every argument you could offer me, because I have used them all against myself- but this is to tell you that I am quitting.

    I cannot work under the terms of Directive 10-289- though not for the reasons its perpetrators intended. I know that their abolition of all scientific research does not mean a damn to you or me, and that you would want me to continue. But I have to quitm because I do not wish ti succeed any longer.
   I do not wish to work in a world that regards me as a slave. I do not wish to be of any value to people. If I succeeded in rebuilding the motor, I would not let you place it in their service. I would not take it upon my conscience that anything produced by my mind should be used to bring them comfort.
    I know that if we succeed, they will be only too eager to expropriate the motor. And for the sake of that prospect, we have to accept the position of criminals (or a liability- to be tested again and again to prove who knows what), you and I, and live under the threat of being arrested at any moment at their whim. And this is the thing that I cannot take, even were I able to take all the rest: that in order to give them an inestimable benefit, we should be maade martyrs to the men who, but fir us, could not have conceived of it. I might have forgiven the rest, but when I think of this, I say: May they be damned, I will see them all die of starvation, myself included, rather than forgive them for this or permit it!
   To tell you the full truth, I want to succeed, to solve the secret of the motor, as much as ever. So I shall continue to work on it for my own sole pleasure and for as long as I last.  But if I solve it, it will remain my private secret. (I wish!). I will not release it for any commercial use. Therefore, I cannont take your money any longer. Commercialism is supposed to be despicable, so all those people should truly approve of my decision and I - I'm tired of helping those who despise me.
   I don't know how long I will last or what I will do in the future. For the moment, I intend to remain in my job at this Institute. But if any of its trustees oe receivers should remind me that am now legally forbidden to cease being a janitor, I will quit. "

"We voted for that plan. [...] Do you know  how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there's a pipe at the bottom draining it faster than you pour it, and eah bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forty-eight then fifty-six- for your neighbour's supper - for his wife's operation - for his child's measles - for his mother's wheel chair - [...] - foe anyone anwhere arounf you - it's theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures - and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, withnothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end...From each according to his ability, to each according to his need...

[...] What's whose ability and which of whose needs come first? When it's all one pot, you can't let any man decide what his own needs are, can you? If you did, he might claim that he needs a yacht - and if his feelings is all you have to go by, he might prove it, too. [...] it was decided that nobody had the right to judge his own need or ability. We voted on it. [...] It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars- rotten, whinning, sniveling beggars all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn't belong to him, it belonged to 'the family' and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his 'needs' - so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, [...] hoping that 'the family' would throw him the alms. [...] Do you care to guess what happened, what sort of men kept quiet, feeling shame, and what sort got away with the jackpot?

But that wasn't all. [...] The factory's production had fallen by forty percent, in that first half-year, so it was decided that somebody hadn't delivered 'according to his ability'. Who?  [... The family] voted which men were the best, and these men were sentenced to work overtime each night for the next six months, Overtime without pay- because you weren't paid by time and you weren't paid by work, only by need.

[...] We began to hide whatever ability we had, to slow down and watch like hawks that we never worked any fsater or better than the next fellow. What else could we do, when we knoew that if we did our best for the family, it's not thanks or rewards that we'd get, but punishment?

Babies was the only item of production that didn't fall, but rose and kept on rising - because people had nothing else to do, I guess, and because they didn't have to care, the baby wasn't their burden, it was 'the family's'. In fact, the best chance you had of getting a raise and breathing easier for a while was a 'baby allowance'.

[...]Any man who tried to play straight, had to refuse himself everything. He lost his taste for any pleasure, he hated to smoke a nicekl's worth of tobacco or checw a stick of gum, worrying whether somebody had more need for that nickel (Guilt). He felt ashamed of every mouthful of food he swallowed, wondering whose weary night of overtime had paid for it, knowing that his food was not his by right, miserably wishing to be cheated rather than to cheat, to be a sucker, but not a blood-sucker. [...] If he still had some sort of sense of responsibility, he couldn't marry or bring children into the world, when he could plan nothing, promise nothing, count on nothing. But the shiftless and the irresponsible had a field day of it. They bred babies, they got girls into trouble, they dragged in every worthless relative they had from all over the country [...] for an extra 'disability allowance' [...] They found more ways of getting in 'need' than the rest of us could ever imagine - they developed a special skill for it, which was the only ability they showed.

[...]We saw that we'd been given a law to live by, a moral law, they called it, which punished those who observed it - for observing it. The more you tried to live up to it, more you suffered; the more you cheated it, the bigger reward you got. Your honesty was like a tool left at the mercy of next amn's dishonesty. The honest ones paid, the dishonest collected. The honest lost, the dishonest won. (sounds familiar? Any moral code that  let's dishonest win while honest suffer is not moral - by any logic. It is a tool invented by immorals to control and take advantage of moral men and women. You don't need religion, codes, or laws to do help others, to do the right thing- you just need empathy. You can not teach empathy by forcing people to pay for other's need. You will brew resentment - the rise of right views (or as they are called in Europe) in almost all European countries. The trouble with such sentiments are that when they are to oppose something, they tend to swing to another extreme and are very rarely balanced.)

[...] And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached the slogan: 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'

This was the whole secret of it. I kept wondering how it could be possible that the educated, the cultured, the famous men of the world could make a mistake of this sizze and preach, as righteousness, this sort of abomination - when five minutes of thought should have told them what would happen if somebidy tried to practice what they preached. Now I know that they didn't do it by any kind of mistake. Mistakes of this size are never made innocently. If men fall for some vicious piece of insanity, when they have no way to make it work and no possible reason to explain their choice- it's beacuse they have reason that they do not wish to tell. (Usually to gain power- anyone preaching a moral code is usually after power. Guilt is one of the most powerful tool to gain power - most religion use it to gain power over masses. Again, you don't need religion to tell you right from wrong - you need empathy. Hod doesn't need to forgive you for your guilt - you need to forgive yourself in all honesty - it is lot easier to gain forgiveness from God - go to the temple, curch, mosue, whatever, ask for forgiveness and assume you are forgiven - but much harder to forgive yourself.) And we weren't so innocent either, when we voted for the plan at the fist meeting. We didn't do it just because we believed that the drippy old guff they spewed was good. We had another reason, but the guff helped us to hide it from our neighbours and from ourselves. The guff gave us a chance to pass off as virtue something that we'd be ashamed to admit otherwise. There wasn't a man voting for it who didn't think that under a setup of this kiind he'd muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn't a man rich and smart enough but that he didn't think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better's wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he'd get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who'd get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who'd rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss's, forgot every gum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted (to get the unearned, undeserved, dishonest money) - that was the truth of it - but we didn't like to think of it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good."

June 20, 2018


As I said in one of the earlier post, years back when I was learning photography - present can be seen as past of the future. Reading my blog again gives me relaization that present can also be seen as future of the past. Between these two selfs - the future-self and the past-self - is me: the present-self. It makes me wonder what will each of my past-self and future-self will tell my present-self.

My past-self will be quite pleasently surprised by quite a few facts:

  • How I overcame my introvertness to actually be so social - someone who organized social events in the city. From someone who hated to go to parties to someone who organized them.
  • How I changed from being a total geek who wouldn't have dreamt of leaving science field, I became detached to it. Actually I started finding it boring and hence decided to switch to strategy and actually decided to pursue an MBA - something past-self had been very reluctant about. 
  • How I overcame so many obstacles in my path in past few years, especially past few months to be here.
And yet my past-self will be disappointed by myself for letting go of my sarcasm, my sense of humour. She will be horrified by how I let other people's opinion matter so much - how I let other's prejudices guide my life. She will be horrified by how I simply didn't walk away from all this a lot sooner. Why on Earth did I ever try to comply by other people's expectation? Why did I let them manipulate me so?

My future-self - no matter which path I choose- will thank me for being so strong and resilient, for not giving up on myself. I guess she will be a bit more compassionate about my struggle than my past-self as she would have lived through it. Though I think she will also tell me off for not walking out of that mess sooner, for letting other's opinion impact me so. 

I think that's my biggest regret in all this. Not walking away sooner - be scared of - I don't know what. To listen to people that there is no way out or I have no choice but comply. There is always a choice. Choice to walk away choice to not fit in the expectation. Guess one of the lesson I did learn from all this - To struggle against nonsense is wasting your time and energy with no meaningful result so don't get baited into doing so. No matter who is telling you to fight for it. Sometimes walking away is the best choice you can make. 

Of course, the other lesson being to be always true to yourself. Be you and never apologize for being you. I may not be perfect but I am good enough for myself. I have no regrets being me. That's something I do need to remember.

P.S.: 1. It's A Christmas Carol, I guess. 
2. Whatever the future holds, I know one thing for certain: I will not regret my life when I die. I think my last thought would be in line of  "What a life! Never boring." If I were to have an epithet that's what it should say - at least judging by the first half of my life. Picture abhi baki hain, mere dost...

June 14, 2018

Reclaiming my space

Its been three years since my last post here. After about 8 years of blogging, I gave up blogging as I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable to share my views, for some reason. May be it was a sign of growing old.

I am reclaiming this blog today. This is part of my journey. I am so glad I didn't delete this blog when I decided to stop blogging. It was nice to reconnect to myself. The cynic, sarcastic, the optimist-who-thinks-she-is-pessimist (if I can go back, I would like to tell her- cynic is not equal to pessimist), the whiner, the honest me. How I have grown and changed since then! I think I used to have much better sense of humour back then - at least I can make myself laugh again. I guess that's one thing I shouldn't have changed about myself - my sarcasm. I am not nearly as sarcastic as I used to be. Guess, its again a sign of growing old?

A lot has changed in three years - especially in past six months. Not even in my wildest dream could have I thought of being in a place I am now. To be honest, I don't even know where I am as I still don't know all the facts. I guess the biggest questions I have - what is point of all this? Why so many people in so many countries care about poor old me? Why knowing everything about me has been so important? Why monitoring me so closely so important? I am one person among 7.6 billion people. Why waste so much resources on me?

Not that I am not grateful (yes, despite my anger tantrums - which reading my blog you must acknowledge is not something new. I used to use blog/sarcasm before) for being loved and cared for so much by so many people - strangers, family, and friends - but I do need to know all the whys and hows. I need to deal with past six months's events to be able to move on. I haven't even started to put them in sequence - it makes me angry. And yes, I am angry at myself for not being honest, for being scared, for doing things that I wouldn't have done in normal circumstances - I am angry at myself for not being me. Reading my past posts re-emphasized that. I am still not completely me. I am still somewhere thinking about others' opinion and stupid symbolism - guess side-effect of past few months. I do need to move past this - not everything is about me. The world does not revolve around me. That's what is making me (in my own psychoanalysis) uncomfortable. Every sound, every thing somehow has a symbolic meaning that has something to do with what I am doing or not doing. I am angry at myself for taking it that way and then behaving in a way I think I am expected to behave - where I look, what I say, which sounds I react to or not react to, even how I am breathing (do you know how tiring it can be if you are analyzing yourself every single waking second) -  instead of being just me.  I have always noticed random things, made observations others missed while missing things others may have seen. Past few months it has been made into a big deal - even by people who have known me for years. Looking is not always seeing, seeing is not always looking. I can not be always be focused. I do space out when a random thought occurs to me (which is quite often) - it may be completely unrelated to what's being said or done. That's just me.

I am not justifying or apologizing - that's what adds to my anger. I will be me but I do need to deal with past few months. I do need to understand to move past this anger/guilt. To be honest with myself again- I need to tell myself it was okay to be scared, it was okay to be not honest, to give into societal pressure.

Enough rambling I guess.

1. Sometimes things are completely random. Not everything need to have a meaning. 

2. I do need this information to make decision about my future. To tell me that it never happened or that I should simply move on - I will not be able to make a full informed decision and will always wonder if I made the right choice. I deserve this much courtesy after all the blunders that has been made.

3. Also, Happy Eid