Some Thoughts...

I used to think that the creative imagination was something mysterious and intangible, which could neither be described nor trained. While there may always be something elusive about artistic creation, some thinking by people like Liam Hudson and Daniel Dennett gave me some cause to hope. Creativity is not a simple product of unfathomable inspiration, but a result of firstly, generating lots of (mostly junky) ideas, and then weeding them out to discover the ones that work. If this is true of the expressive arts, then it surely also applies to chess, where the ideas have such concrete prompts on the board, and the selection of the ideas that work can be put to the simple test of analysis.

Put simply, this suggests that someone like Tal can come up with great ideas because they come up with loads of ideas, good, bad and indifferent, and then can select the great one. The problem with most of us is not that we are failing to come up with enough good ideas, but we are failing to come up with enough ideas, full stop. Our ability to spot combinations is limited by our tunnel vision, considering only a few moves of a stereotyped nature, and not having the habit of looking at every thing once, no matter how foolish at first sight. Developing imagination, then, is not a matter of learning how to do something terribly magical, but to some extent involves putting aside what you think you know (retreating pieces is bad, putting your Queen en prise is bad) and considering moves that only very good players - or very bad players! - look at.

Source: unknown

Attitude - "I Alone Matter - Nobody Else"

In my perception, in India, on an average people generally thing only for themselves. Few people give a thought to anything beyond themselves to the bigger picture. Nobody seems to realize that by improving the bigger picture, they can improve their own situation much better than if they had worked on improving their own situation alone. I think this is one key point to differentiate between an advanced and a developing country.

The best example of this is seen on the roads of Bangalore. Consider congested traffic moving slowly on road 1 & 2 of an intersection.

Say people are driving on road 2, while people on road 1 are waiting to proceed.

     | |
 ____| |____
1____   ____
     | |
     | |

What inevitably happens is people on road 1 keep on inching forward until they block the traffic on road 2, and then start moving ahead. Then the people on road 2 start doing the same thing until there is a total jam and instead of people moving at 40 kmph, they are each moving at 1 kmph.

Each new person who enters the situation, tries to move as fast as possible through whatever gap he finds... because *he* wants to get to his office faster, causing the deadlock to tighten further.

Very few people (but fortunately there are atleast a few such people!) actually pause for a moment to think about the bigger picture, that if they wait now for 2 mins and allow the traffic in the perpendicular road to clear, they can reach their destination 15 mins earlier !!

Another very common example is a person with a highly polluting vehicle releasing clouds of thick white/dark smoke. The exhaust pipe of their vehicle is *behind* them, so they are not getting any smoke in their face, so they are happy. It is only the unfortunate person behind them who is unhappy, esp a two-wheeler driver. I have seen a motorist standing at a red light, covering his face with a hanky because of the noxious fumes from the jeep in front of him, while his own mortorcycle spewed the deadly black smoke to people behind him.

At first I felt this was selfishness, but later felt it was more a sort of indifference and total lack of awareness of people around us. "Who cares..." and "we are like this only" is the favorite excuse used.

Vicious Trap Of Illiteracy

Lack of education, even basic literacy, to the poor causes the poor to remain poor generation after generation. A great deal of work is currently in progress by various groups.... though I feel no amount of effort is 'too much' in this direction.

The silver lining

Those were, in managerial terms, 'areas of improvement'. There are so many really positive things about India which I had always taken for granted until I went abroad.

I am delighted to discover more and more Indians everyday who have risen above this apathy to create a lot of value to those around them. If there is one place on Earth, where you can meet a simple looking ordinary stranger, say on a train journey or on the street, and in due course of conversation find out more about the person, and realise that that person is actually worth his value in gold, then you are most likely to be in India. Nowhere else have I encountered so many people who have simple living and high thinking, and they dont stop there, they follow it by selfless action!

I think that compared to an average Westerner, an average Indian has a higher awareness of God, in whatever abstraction, and consiously or atleast subconsiously sees God in all human beings and living things. Of course, awareness may not always mean understanding, judging by many blind beliefs and rituals, but awareness is definitely there. This is the reason why though an Average Westerner is extremely cordial and courteous, it is feels more superficial, compared to a lesser glamourous show of Indian cordiality, which feels like it has greater depth. (Please note the use of 'Average' since there are many Westerner whom I know to be truly erstwhile friends.)

I became aware of so many other people who had been thinking on such lines for a long time already and have actually acted/ are acting on their thoughts too. For eg

*** ANGER ***

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else -- you are the one who gets burned."   

                                                                                         - Buddha

We feel any negative feeling because we hold on to our past. If we just let go off our past... even the previous terrible hour... or the previous terrible minute... just let it go... its scary and doesn't make sense because what made you angry was so important, and how can you just forget it so easily... but just let it go... something like while skydiving, you let go off the plane and jump off into the open space below... then you experience the exhilaration of real freedom and lightness.

Then... this makes sense if you succeed in the above and are in a calmer state of mind... face reality - accept the fact that whatever's happened has already happened. It's better than the other option where you waste hours together dreaming of how much better things could've be if it had not happened. Then see what's the best thing that can be done about it now.

Buddha's quote was an excellent aid in understanding  demystifying myths about Gandhi by Mark Shepard. If you dont have time to read the whole article, you could read just the last para.