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Work, Worker and World

“Every conscious virtue is an effort to conceal or correct a secret vice.” – Baruch Spinoza, Dutch Philosopher.

(Spinoza here puts in one line what psychologists speak in volumes.!!  )

There are few interesting observations I have come across these days which make me feel that our understanding of intelligence and skill is somehow incomplete.( Maybe the varied public perception of me as wide and paradoxical as intelligent, stubborn, arrogant to dumbo, confused, etc has something to do with this introspection).

Four months into work, for the first time, I am seeing world to be as complex as it really is. Never was a dynamics of human emotions was so clear and the traditional categories like “good” and “bad” as SRK says in MNIK appear so naïve.

It is a common phenomenon that in our earlier schooling days we tend to look to toppers as absolute numero-uno i.e. complete supremacy over “intelligence” etc etc. This concept obviously is skewed for intelligence is actually multi-dimensional and schooling hardly covers many of these dimensions.

Life is a much larger ground where any dimension of intelligence comes handy in due course of time and this is the reason why we ponder how such poor performers at school do well later on in life. In most cases school environment might have drained them while later environments empowered them by allowing them to use the untapped dimensions of intellect.

When do I say that a person is intelligent? When one says exactly what I have in mind…..or maybe when one says something that is true from my experience but couldn’t express it as nicely.

Man has no ears for what experience has given him no access. And hence, seen in this perspective, intelligence of a person is his/her homogeneity with specific reference to the examiner and has no universal validation.

However despite the limitations imposed by this judgment of intelligence and skillset the very nature of any industry demands ready availability of worker at a particular point of time which gives scope for others to get in whereas otherwise they could have been found unsuitable.

Let me take the example of Film Industry as I would be able to get across my point better. For the theatres to run throughout year we may require approx 100 Hindi movies + few English movies + regional cinema. Enlist the directors whose films you would like to watch! Despite being a movie buff myself, I am able to recall some 15 directors. Even assuming that these directors make 2 movies per year which is a rarity, I have hardly 30 movies to watch. But how would the theatres be occupied for the rest 70% of the time? This obviously testifies the existence of a sizable section of people who are watching the other movies and have different taste.

But more importantly we need 70 more directors to fill the gap between demand the supply. Hence if one were to become a producer one may have to work with a director whose recent credentials may not be good as there is no availability of top directors.

So ultimately what I feel that strengths and weaknesses are ultimately a product of one’s environment and each can convert itself into another depending on time.

Efficiency is intelligent laziness as they say. Inefficiency in one aspect always results in an attempt to cover it up through another means. These balances create character and skills. The seeds of success are born right in the depths of failure and vice versa too.

Back in my engineering, I had certain friends who used to be very mediocre in studies but used to have an extraordinary sense of business acumen into every mundane work they do. And since, they themselves were unable to do certain things they used to get it done by others.

As goes a joke, two childhood friends meeting after long, one reveals “ Those who used to study well back then are now teachers, those who never used to study have built schools”. ( this obviously discounts the practical sense which should have gone in building those schools though)

Hence, the age old wisdom that one must choose a work which they are interested. A deeply woven web of interdependence lies behind work of every kind and oftentimes a deficiency or handicap for one creates opportunity for another.

Supermarkets run because the urban population don’t mind to pay more for the convenience of timings. Internet billings and ebanking are in vogue exactly because people have no luxury of wasting time in these activities.

We need domestic helps, clerks, mechanics etc and these jobs are created in response to our requirement and by no means should any such activity be viewed in any belittling manner as a world of white collared jobs would have made many lives miserable.

The bottomline is that every job is equally important from the total point of view and there is always work for a worker regardless of his so-called capabilities or one’s opinions.

The world keeps going and no person is so important that work comes to a standstill in their absence.


  1. "All men are created equal"
    This is the gist of what you have explained here.
    And I always truly believed it. But certainly your lengthy reasoning better helps understand it very well.
    This is about what the conservatives do not agree with the liberals.
    This is what that truly separates egalitarian from an elitist. The belief that few men are superior is easy to deduce and accept from simple empirical view but a profound reasoning and knowledge is required to understand the fact of egalitarianism. And people are too indulged for an exercise.
    What a person becomes when grown up is a complex function of his experiences and opportunities. Given equal weights all the variables would certainly lead to an equal probability of him becoming a success or failure. And success or failure are again only perspectives. They do not have any physical reality.
    Simple questions like:
    What would Sachin tendulkar have been if he grew up in chirrapunji?
    What would Bill gates be if he grew up in Africa?
    What would Adolf Hitler be if he grew up in 17th century?

    .... enough to summarize the illusions behind the simple deductions.

  2. "Hence, the age old wisdom that one must choose a work which they are interested. A deeply woven web of interdependence lies behind work of every kind and oftentimes a deficiency or handicap for one creates opportunity for another." I agree wholeheartedly with your quote here, Maddy. Excellent article!


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