Random Thoughts

Thinking Out of the Box

Re-visiting prose! Hey but this time I am not angry. Most of my readers know why I get into prose. However, those who do not know I enter into this genre off and on when I am angered… when I see  human beings all over the world behave in a way that I think should be re-looked at. This time I will be talking about something that might shock people, might even provoke question and serious doubts on my sanity and intelligence. Still I would. I have nothing to lose…but I will stand by my thought…almost like a fool who is directionless wanting with love to plant a thought into the minds of intelligent people. I will be talking about the uselessness of ‘competition, excellence, performance’ in general and in doing so would try to understand if these are germs or viruses affecting the world in the guise of something that foster growth and development.

I have been told that people are a replica of nature. Human beings as bipeds stood up with their brains slowly getting connected to consciousness. I read that the difference between us and other inhabitants of the world is consciousness. Is that the reason we compete? Funnily nothing else in this world does. That cuckoo is an excellent singer and crow isn’t, that lion is the king of the jungle and rabbit isn’t that weaver bird and woodpeckers strive for excellence in their nests than the sparrow is like saying that the Mount Everest is the tallest peak because it tried to compete with all other peaks of the world. Poor creatures they don’t know what excellence is…and thank goodness they don’t. The model that competition leads to people’s taking interest in their work is a little less than non-sense. Rewards and recognitions encourage us because we had been trained to orient our work in that way for generations. Everything has a war footing. The fact that the leopard and the dear run to eat and to not being eaten is looked upon as excellence by the clever eyes perhaps.

Dudes, if you look at the world, you could clearly see that this model, the model for striving for excellence is not working. An organization performs because it has to perform in its own way. Being involved with the occupation of competitors' performances adds to the cost if not the stress. This CMMI model that has attacked the business world is creating more malice than creativity, liberty to be. It is sad that human beings have completely forgotten the being part! Can we ever bring it back? This single supercilious notion has its ripple effect in the poor employees perpetually fighting with each other for God knows what! Excellence may be! Or may be because they have been told that 'good is the enemy of the great'! The madness for excellence is here for good for all the wrong reasons. Tell me one scientist who has excelled because s/he has competed with other scientists, I’d like to know some names of very successful persons who have excelled because of competition with the outside world. Einstein, Tagore, Shakespeare, Chopin would be turning in their graves now if we thought that they’d become what they had because they strived to be the best! Even in sports, you ask Sachin if he’d competed against anyone…you ask Surgy Bubka if he’d competed with anybody other than himself to achieve excellence. The superlatives like best, greatest, strongest are perpetually in exile by killing, slaying a large number of friends either physically or otherwise. Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest has slowly changed into survival of the wisest since long. Even in the animal kingdom, we are striving hard to save the so-called fittest out of extinction...starting from dinosaurs... the recent threat is the tiger. Poor tiger doesn't even know why we call it the strongest or the fittest...neither do lambs or dears know that they are not the fittest! 

What do we get out of this evaluation is war. That is why countries today are not satisfied with their own performances, they have to keep others’ performances down to exercise control and power over others. I being an Indian do not have the right to plough in my own land and make a living out of it? Acres of land are not ploughed in India and other ‘developing countries’ in order to artificially create scarcity… this is the result of the ‘competition, excellence, performance’. We would only be naïve if we are blaming anyone here. We are all scapegoats turning and turning around in the whirlwind.

In games and sports, at work, in families, in the creative world these three viruses seem to be taking the better of us. The relationship between employees in any organization is seriously threatened because of the manipulative stances of the management. Now let us not blame our managers, let us not blame anyone for that matter if we are to at all get off the germs. We are not satisfied with the games as they are…we have to know who the best team is. In this way, we have best worker, best employee, best dancer, best singer, best country, best employer, even best spouse, and best lover. Whatever we do has to have the win-lose war component. Yet we are surprised to see the object war outside of us in its crudest and rudest form.

People all over the world have not learnt how to compete; we should compete like the heart or the brain or the liver or the pancreas or numerous cells in our body. The brain does not say it is better than the heart…all are competing with themselves to be at their best for the body to be up and about. I wonder when human beings would really do some thinking to come up with a model that functions as one body where parts are found competing with themselves to perform their best.  

But what do I know…am I even competent to talk about these highly cerebral issues and concerns? In terms of exposure and experience I know nothing about anything. I know that I do not have the know-how to change the way people think as employees, as neighbours, as family members, and as part of this world. However, I understand that this model that is stressing people from all walks of life needs to be done away with; that the number and figures that lie in broad daylight fail to understand the pulse of the people. That is why I urge stalwarts of society to come up with something whose process of achievement does not electrocute people, a robust model as strong and as sexy as warfare that enable people to engage with each other without a win-lose approach. How long can we watch the world fighting and crushing enemies and foes trying to overtake everyone by hook or by crook, by fair means or foul when we know that the concept of enemy and foe does not exist! The fight or the animosity between countries and neighbours can cease to exist with a click of a button…. it is that simple and that easy. It is just a matter of bringing about a shift in the way we think. How long can the heart and liver and the brain and the lungs and pancreas and numerous cells compete with each other to become the most excellent performer?

Perhaps there might come a day when we’d be able to understand these words in their truest forms, where the mind of the world will work in tandem with all its parts, best and excellent in their own ways.

These words have given a lot of stimulation to our hormones, have entertained us. Will they be able to ‘enter-train’ us I wonder!
Let me now happily go back to my place…poems, where else!


More by :  Supratik Sen

Top | Random Thoughts

Views: 3410      Comments: 2

Comment Thank you Padmaja for your encouragement to let me talk about something people may not be ready to accept.

Supratik Sen
09-Apr-2014 04:28 AM

Comment No poems here till May1st, Supratik! So, keep regaling us with your prose that you write so well too! This article has clearly brought out the pitfalls of blind competition that blinds all else - most importantly sanity! Do keep your thought provoking articles coming - even after May 1st!

Padmaja Iyengar
06-Apr-2014 13:47 PM

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