Saturday, June 19, 2010

Building The Cathedral in Baby Steps

I must admit that I am enjoying what I am doing now. The work isn't easy, and involves changes in my own habits and lifestyle. But I am always excited by possibilities, and there is plenty to be excited about in my scope of work that I have now. Effectively, I am trying to pursue my big dream - setting up a world college - in a series of baby steps. So, this is the 'building the cathedral' feeling, where the day's tiredness does not seem to matter because of the purposefulness of the endeavour. Suddenly, my life has taken a 360-degree turn, from being a drag to a race, and my sense of wastefulness and despair have disappeared.

On that happy note, I have started writing this blog again. In fact, the last week's silence was the tipping point, the transition from resignedness to purposefulness. Someone pointed out that the silence in my blog points to my happiness, which probably is true in context, but not necessarily the way I want this to be. This blog is my place of sharing, my irreversible bond with my friends, many unmet, and a happy moment must therefore be adequately spoken about here.

Besides, a sense of success is no less a teacher than a sense of failure. I know the bit about double loop learning, but that assumes a complete lack of humility, a disease I have attempted to avoid so far. In fact, that way, my last three years' experience has been useful. I have been deeply humbled by the failure, and today, when I do something right, I do not take this as a proof of my own unquestionable greatness, but be able to reflect on why that particular bit really worked.

In fact, I shall argue that while failure teaches a lot, and it did teach me certain key things, the teaching of success is slightly different. The learning from failure misses out on uncovering the possibilities of what could have been, focusing the minds back primarily on the past. That is useful; but no worthwhile life can be lived without a complete commitment to future. Besides, failure makes today look nasty. I noticed this poster on the entrance of British Library yesterday, something I could not have appreciated fully a few days ago - 'Today is a gift. That's why they call it - Present.'

Before this is misunderstood, I must say that I don't disown the past. Ever. In fact, I believe the past is me. Just that I believe the incontrovertible duty of the past is to create the future, and at any moment failing to do so is about being abrogating our responsibilities.

In any case, I wish to return to my daily blog writing habits now, because I think that's important. My ex employers were very uneasy about my blog writing. Though I never wrote about actual incidents at work, and only wrote about my own life, they were still uneasy. This was because they were firmly chained to the past, devoid of the gift of openness and imagination. This time, it is supposed to be easier. First, because I am working for no one but myself, helping others to do things along the way. And, besides, I am working with a set of people committed to the business of creating possibility, not just of making money.

I have suddenly loved to hate this expression of making money. If it was only on my vote, I would have chosen this to be the ugliest expression in English. Or, at least, it will be right at the top of the list competing with other absurd ones like making love. And, in my mind, being in love, which is an expression of possibility and worthiness, has as much relationship with making love, as creating wealth has with making money. More, making money is wonderfully reductionist - inconsistent with the whole idea of building a cathedral - and so much I hate this expression that I have decided not to work with anyone who is in business to 'make money'.

I am now off for some weekend work - a visit to an international students fair, which I would consider an essential part of my voyage towards a platform for international education exchange - and shall therefor stop writing. But, the silence is over now, and once I come back, I shall set out to write again.

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How To Live

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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