标记档案: 生活

总结

走向他生命的结束, 毛姆总结自己 “外卖” 在一本书名为贴切 “在小结。” 我也感到一种冲动总结, 要充分利用我所取得的成绩,并企图实现. 这样的冲动, 当然, 有点傻在我的情况. 对于一件事, 我清楚地取得没有什么比毛姆; 即使考虑到他年纪大了很多,当他总结了自己的东西,有更多的时间实现的事情. 其次, 毛姆可以表达了他对人生, 宇宙和一切不过如此,我会永远能够. 这些缺点,尽管, 我会刺伤它自己,因为我已经开始感受到到来的亲近 — 有点像你在最后几个小时的长途飞行感觉. 我感觉好像不管我所要做的, 我是否已经实现与否, 已经在我身后. 现在可能是一样好时间,因为任何问自己 — 它是什么,我所要做的?

我觉得我的人生的主要目标是要知道的事. 在开始时, 它像收音机和电视的物理的东西. 我还记得发现前六册的快感 “基本无线” 在我父亲的藏书, 虽然我没有机会了解他们在那个时间点说了什么. 这是一个兴奋的拉着我通过我多年的本科生. 后来, 我的工作重点转移到类似事情更基本的东西, 原子, 光, 颗粒, 物理学等. 然后就到心灵和大脑, 空间和时间, 感觉和现实, 生死 — 这是最深刻,最重要的问题, 但矛盾的是, 至少显著. 此时在我的生活, 在这里我要带什么,我做的股票, 我不得不问自己, 它是值得的? 难道我做的很好, 还是我做的不好?

回顾我的生活至今,现在, 我有许多事值得高兴的事情, 并可能别人认为我没有那么骄傲. 好消息第一 — 我已经走过了漫长的从那里我开始了一种方式. 我生长在一个中产阶级家庭,在印度七十年代. 印度中产阶级在七十年代就很差以任何合理的世界标准. 而贫穷是我周围的一切, 与同学辍学从事低贱的童工喜欢背着泥和堂兄弟谁买不起一平方米一天只吃一顿饭. 贫困不是一个假设的条件困扰未知的灵魂在遥远的国度, 但它是一个痛苦和感觉到的现实都在我身边, 现实我逃了盲目的运气. 从那里, 我设法爪我的方式向上层中产阶级的存在在新加坡, 它含有丰富的大多数全球标准. 这段旅程, 其中大部分可以归因于盲运气在遗传事故方面 (如学术情报) 或其他好运气, 是一个有趣的在自己的权利. 我想我应该可以把一个幽默的旋转它,博客它有一天. 虽然这是愚蠢的邀功这种偶然的辉煌, 我会小于说实话,如果我说我不感到自豪.

你忙吗?

在企业世界, 所有成功的人都非常忙. 如果您的日历不填充背到后端会议, 你没有在企业阶梯的上横档属于. 就像在企业世界最多的事, 这个功能也颠覆了. 你是不是很忙,因为你的成功, 你是成功的,因为你可以投射出忙碌的光环.

这是我读了 纽约时报博客 让我想起了一个在线资源,明确地告诉了我们如何看待忙碌. 它要求我们要提防从你的同事或者老板无辜的冠冕堂皇的问题 — 你在忙什么,这些天? 这个问题是一个前兆倾倒你的盘子上更多的工作. 我们现在应该做的, 显然, 是有这个查询一个现成的回应. 想想你正在使用的前三名件事. 排练的究竟是什么工作,这些作品是一个同期声, 多么重要他们是, 和你的工作有多难对他们. 尽可能定量. 例如, 说你是一个项目,这将使这么多百万美元的工作差异, 并提到大量每周的会议你必须参加追逐了其他球队等. 然后,, 当查询随便抛出自己的方式, 可以有效地招架,并得一分对你的职业发展. 你会不会被抓到说像愚蠢的事情, “咳咳.., 在上周没有太大,” 这将是肯定的邀请,忙碌下周. 严重地, 该网站实际上有模板响应.

代理忙其实需要时间, 它是艰苦的工作, 尽管毫无意义的工作. 事情的事实是,我们最终调节自己,真的相信我们真的是忙, 我们正在做的工作是显著而且它的事项. 我们必须, 不这样做将是拥抱我们的虚伪. 如果我们能自欺欺人, 我们有虚伪的罪赦免最起码. 除了, 欺骗别人,然后就简单多了.

忙, 当真诚地相信, 比企业战略更. 这是我们工作的价值的验证, 推而广之, 我们的存在. 企业恋情忙, 因此, 入侵我们的私人生活,以及. 我们变得无暇倾听孩子们的愚蠢故事和眼中钉. 我们变得太忙做的事情比带来的快乐, 像挂出与朋友和冷的没有目的. 一切都变得沉重目的的行为 — 看电视是一天的辛苦工作后放松 (不是因为你爱权力的游戏), 饮料是放松 (不是因为你是稍微酒类和爱的味道), 打高尔夫球是待观察和已知的在右边界 (不咂了 **** 出白色的小球) , 甚至一个假期是一个来之不易的破发 “充值” 我们更忙法术 (与其说是因为你想花一些时间与您的亲人). 没有什么是无意义. 但, 试图不把时间浪费在毫无意义的活动, 我们结束了一个毫无意义的生活.

我认为,我们需要做的事情毫无意义的定期. 你觉得我的博客是不够毫无意义? 我想是这样.

退休 — 一个妻子的视图

在我最近退休的连接, 我老婆给我发了一篇文章, (有人就如何退休,于是给了讲话) 这使得一些有趣的点. 但更有趣的是, 它开始与一个有趣的故事. 这里是:

在一个小村庄在喀拉拉邦, 一个虔诚的基督徒去世. 当地牧师是出站, 从隔壁村一个牧师被要求提供的悼词. “女士们,先生们,在他之前“就开始了令人尊敬的牧师与棺材. 我之前“这里躺着死了这个村以优秀的品质难得的人. 他是一位绅士, 学者, 甜舌, 温柔的脾气和非常天主教的前景. 他是慷慨的故障,并不断微笑。“死者的遗孀跳起来,尖叫, “哦,我的上帝! 他们被埋葬错了人!“

真正形成, 这位先生结束了他的演讲报以另一个故事.

首先,上帝创造了牛,说, “你必须与农民日常生活去外地, 和太阳整天挨下, 有小牛, 喝牛奶,帮助农民. 我给你六十年的时间。“牛说:, “这是艰难的肯定. 给我才二十多. 我还给四十年。“

在第二天, 上帝创造了狗,说, 你家的门,树皮陌生人“坐. 我给你二十年的跨度。“狗说:, “太长的寿命吠叫. 我放弃了十年。“

第三天, 上帝创造了猴子,对他说:, “娱乐大众. 让他们笑. 我给你20年了。“上帝对猴子说, “真无聊! 猴把戏二十年? 给我的只有十年。“主协议.

第四天, 上帝创造了人. 他对他说:, “吃, 睡觉, 玩, 喜欢做什么. 我给你20年。“

男人说, “只有20年? 没办法! 我把我的20, 但给我40牛还给, 那猴子返回的10, 和10狗投降. 这使得它80. 好?“上帝答应了.

这就是为什么头二十年,我们睡, 玩, 喜欢做什么.
对于四十年,我们奴隶在阳光下,支持我们的家庭.
在接下来的十年里,我们做猴子把戏来招待我们的孙子.
而在过去的十年里,我们坐在家门口,不住地对大家.

好, 我设法削减我的40头牛,年只有20. 这里的希望,我会得到类似的优惠在我的猴子和狗年内!

Deferred Satisfaction

母亲被惹恼,她十几岁的儿子是在浪费时间看电视.
“儿子, 不要浪费你的时间看电视. 你应该学习,” 她建议.
“为什么?” 打趣说儿子, 作为青少年通常做.
“好, 如果你努力学习, 你会取得好成绩。”
“是啊, so?”
“然后,, 你可以进入一所好学校。”
“我为什么要?”
“That way, 你可以希望得到一份好工作。”
“为什么? 我想做好什么?”
“好, 你可以赚很多钱的方式。”
“为什么我想要钱?”
“如果你有足够的钱, 你可以高枕无忧. 每当你想看电视。”
“好, 现在我做的!”

什么母亲倡导, 当然, 是递延满意的英明原则. 如果你现在要做的事情略有不快不要紧, 只要你在以后的生活奖励它. 这个原则是这么多我们的道德结构的一部分,我们想当然, 从来没有质疑其智慧. 因为我们在它的信任, 我们乖乖拿苦药,当我们生病, 知道我们会感觉更好以后. 我们默默地服从自己,刺戳, 根管, 做我们的结肠镜检查人员和其他暴行,因为我们已经学会容忍unpleasantnesses未来回报的预期. 我们甚至工作就像在工作岗位狗这样loathesome他们真的要我们支付一大笔钱坚持到底.

之前,我自己抹黑, 让我说得很清楚,我相信递延满意的智慧. 我只是想仔细看看,因为我的信念, 或七十亿人的信念为此事, 目前还没有任何原则的逻辑正确性的证明.

我们引领我们的生活,这些天的方式是基于他们所谓的享乐主义. 我知道,这个词有负面含义, 但不是在我这里用它的意义. 享乐主义的原则是,我们采取在生活中任何的决定是基于它是如何的痛苦和快乐要创建. 如果有过量的乐趣过疼痛的, 那么它是正确的决定. 虽然我们不考虑它, 那里的痛苦和快乐的收件人是不同的个体情况, 贵族或自私参与决策. 所以一个好的生活的目标是最大化这多余的快感了痛. 看过在这种情况下, 延迟满意的原则是有道理的 — 这是一个很好的策略,最大限度多余的.

但是,我们必须要小心多少耽误满意. 明确地, 如果我们等待太久, 所有我们积累信用的满意度会去浪费,因为我们有机会在它绘制之前,我们可能会死. 这种认识可能是背后的口头禅 “活在当下。”

凡享乐主义不足之处在于,它没有考虑到的快感质量的事实. 这是哪里得到它的坏的内涵. 例如, 像麦道夫的庞氏骗局大师可能做出了正确的决定,因为他们享受豪华富裕的长期在监狱里痛苦相对较短的持续时间的成本.

所需要的, 也许, 是我们的选择的正确性的又一举措. 我认为这是在选择自身的内在质量. 我们做一些事情,因为我们知道,这是件好事.

我, 当然, 触及到哲学的分支茫茫他们称之为道德. 这是不可能的总结一下在几个博客文章. 我也不是足够资格这样做. 桑德尔, 另一方面, 绝对有资格, 你应该看看他的网上课程 正义: 什么是正确的事情? 如果有兴趣. 我只是想分享我的想法是有类似的一种生活方式的内在质量, 或者选择和决定. 我们都知道它,因为它涉及我们的智慧分析前. 我们做正确的事没有这么多,因为它让我们在痛苦过量的快感, 但我们知道正确的事情是什么,有一种与生俱来的需要做.

That, 至少, 是理论. 但, 晚, 我开始怀疑是否整个右错, 好邪恶的区别是一个精心制作的鲁塞保留一些头脑简单的人在办理入住手续, 而聪明的人继续享受完全享乐主义 (现在用它与所有的贬义) 生活的乐趣. 我为什么要当好他们其余的人似乎墙到墙的乐趣是陶醉? 这是我的腐朽的内在品质说话, 还是我刚开始有点聪明? 我觉得是混淆了我, 大概你也, 是快乐和幸福之间的距离小. 做幸福正确的事情结果. 食在愉悦的好成绩午餐. 当理查德·费曼写 寻找物品的出快乐, 他很可能在谈论幸福. 当我读到这本书, 什么我遇到可能是更接近于纯粹的快感. 看电视可能是乐趣. 写这个帖子, 另一方面, 可能是更接近幸福. 至少, 我希望如此.

回来我的小故事以上, 可母亲对她说看电视的儿子知道后,他留下深刻的印象递延满意的智慧? 好, 只是我能想到的唯一的事情就是从享乐主义说,如果儿子浪费他的时间在看电视的说法, 还有一个非常现实的可能性,他可能不能够以后买不起一台电视在生活中. 也许,本质好父母不会让自己的孩子成长为一个TV-成年少. 我怀疑我会, 因为我相信,在承担责任的内在善为自己的行为和后果. 这是否让我一个坏父母? 它是做正确的事? 需要我们要求任何人来告诉我们这些东西?

我的生活, 我的方式

经过银行近八年, 我终于把它称为退出. 在过去三年的那些年, 我一直在告诉人们,我要离开. 我觉得人在停止服用我当回事. 我老婆肯定没有, 和它来作为主要的冲击给她. 但是,尽管她的研究的反对, 我设法把它关闭. 事实上, 它不仅是银行,我离开, 其实我已经退休了. 我的大多数朋友招呼我退役的消息嫉妒和怀疑的混合物. 电源惊喜 — 它是好的,仍然有力量.

为什么它是一个真正的惊喜? 为什么有人会认为这是疯狂的,从像我这样的职业走开? 疯狂是在做同样的事情一遍又一遍,并期待不同的结果. 数以百万计的人 做相同 疯狂照出的东西 遍地, 每个人都希望他们无非停止这样做, 甚至打算只推迟了他们的计划一个愚蠢的理由或其他. 我想习惯的力量在做照出的东西大于变化的恐惧. 之间存在什么样的人说,他们的计划是什么,他们最终做一条鸿沟, 这是令人不安的影片的主题 革命之路. 这个海湾是在我的情况非常窄. 我列出了一堆小目标 — 帮几个人, 做一个适度的财富, 提供合理的舒适性和安全性,这些近. 我已经实现了他们, 现在是时候停止. 所有这些目标的问题在于,一旦你接近他们, 他们看起来平凡, 并没有什么事情足以让大多数人. 不适合我,虽然 — 我一直都足够鲁莽坚持我的计划.

在我的本科年在IIT马德拉斯一个这样的鲁莽行动的早期实例来. 我很聪明学业, 尤其是在物理学. 但我不记得像定理的姓名细节不太好. 一旦, 雷在IIT这个古怪的教授问我一个特别的定理的名称与电场周围点的线积分和其中包含的费用. 我想答案是格林定理, 同时其3维等效 (曲面积分) 被称为高斯定理什么的. (遗憾, 我的维基百科和谷歌搜索也没有提出任何明确这一点。) 我回答高斯定理. 教授看了我好一会儿用鄙视他的眼睛,说: (在泰米尔纳) 像我需要得到他的拖鞋殴打. 我还记得在我Khakki车间的服装站在那里,听他, 我的脸上燃烧着耻辱和无能的愤怒. 和, 虽然物理是我最喜欢的科目 (我的初恋, 事实上, 正如我一直说, 主要是为了激怒我的妻子), 我于是没再回到他的任何讲座. 我想即使是在那个年纪, 我有我的鲁莽这一令人不安的水平. 我现在知道为什么. 它是根深蒂固的信念,没有什么真正的问题. 什么事也没做, 作为默尔索的陌生人指出,在他的最后一个回合的口才.

我离开了银行的各种原因; 薪酬是不是其中之一, 但鲁莽也许是. 我有一些哲学 关于正确性的疑虑 对我所做的一切在银行. 我从一个受 陷入困境的良心. 哲学的原因是奇兽 — 它们会导致具体的行动, 往往那些令人不安. 阿尔贝·加缪 (在他的收藏 西西弗斯的神话) 警告它,而谈人生的荒谬. 罗伯特Pirsig在他的结语,以 禅与摩托车维修艺术 还谈到,当这种冥想成为psychiatrically危险. 迈克尔·桑德尔是另一种聪​​明的人谁, 在他著名的演讲 正义: 什么是正确的事情? 指出,哲学往往可以上色你的观点永久 — 你不能忘掉它回去, 你不能改变想法一个念头再次趋于正常.

哲学与鲁莽一边, 其他主要离职原因的工作是无聊. 该工作得到了这么colossally无聊. 望着窗外的交通我的窗口 13 下面的地板是远比看在我的三台电脑屏幕更有价值. 所以我花了半天的时间,盯着窗外. 当然, 我的表现萎缩,结果. 我想凿开的性能,切实让自己留下一个高薪的工作的唯一办法. 有些时候,你要烧的桥梁在你身后. 反观现在, 我真的不能明白,为什么我是如此的无聊. 我是一个定量的开发人员和工作需要制定的报告和工具. 编码是我在家里做的乐趣. 这和写作, 当然. 可能是无聊来自于一个事实,即没有严重的知识内容在里面. 有没有在任务, 也不是雄心勃勃的同事成群结队的公司. 走进职场,每天早上, 看着所有的高薪人走来走去做一些重要的风度令人印象深刻, 我曾经觉得差不多难过. 重要的是如何可能的豆计数永远?

然后再, 多么重要这可能是博客? 我们回到默尔索的长篇大论 – 没什么要紧. 也许我是错的抛出它扔掉, 因为所有的人都跟我. 也许那些重要的前瞻性的同事们真的很重要, 而我是一个在错误的退休. 这也无关紧要; 这也意义不大, 作为默尔索和我的密友会看到它.

在不断上来的问题是什么是下一个. 我很想给同样的舌头在脸颊的答案,拉里·达雷尔中 剃刀的边缘 — 面包! 我的那种闲散会涉及很多的思考, 很多学习, 和辛勤工作. 有这么多的了解, 和这么少的时间去学习.

照片由 kenteegardin

Rules of Conflicts

In this last post in the rules of the game series, we look at the creative use of the rules in a couple of situations. Rules can be used to create productive and predictable conflicts. One such conflict is in law enforcement, where cops hate defense attorneys — if we are to believe Michael Connelly’s depiction of how things work at LAPD. It is not as if they are really working against each other, although it may look that way. Both of them are working toward implementing a set of rules that will lead to justice for all, while avoiding power concentration and corruption. The best way of doing it happens to be by creating a perpetual conflict, which also happens to be fodder for Connelly’s work.

Another conflict of this kind can be seen in a bank, between the risk taking arm (traders in the front office) and the risk controlling teams (market and credit risk managers in the middle office). The incessant strife between them, 事实上, ends up implementing the risk appetite of the bank as decided by the senior management. When the conflict is missing, problems can arise. For a trader, performance is quantified in terms of the profit (以及在较小程度, its volatility) generated by him. This scheme seems to align the trader’s interests with those of the bank, thus generating a positive feedback loop. As any electrical engineer will tell you, positive feedback leads to instability, while negative feedback (conflict driven modes) leads to stable configurations. The positive feedback results in rogue traders engaging in huge unauthorized trades leading to enormous damages or actual collapses like the Bearings bank in 1995.

We can find other instances of reinforcing feedback generating explosive situations in upper management of large corporates. The high level managers, being board members in multiple corporate entities, keep supporting each other’s insane salary expectations, thus creating an unhealthy positive feedback. If the shareholders, 另一方面, decided the salary packages, their own self-interest of minimizing expenses and increasing the dividend (and the implicit conflict) would have generated a more moderate equilibrium.

The rule of conflict is at work at much larger scales as well. In a democracy, political parties often assume conflicting world views and agendas. Their conflict, ratified through the electoral process, ends up reflecting the median popular view, which is the way it should be. It is when their conflicting views become so hopelessly polarized (as they seem to be in the US politics these days) that we need to worry. Even more of a worry would be when one side of the conflict disappears or gets so thoroughly beaten. In an earlier post, I lamented about just that kind of one-sidedness in the idealogical struggle between capitalism and socialism.

Conflicts are not limited to such large settings or to our corporate life and detective stories. The most common conflict is in the work-life balance that all of us struggle with. The issue is simple — we need to work to make a living, and work harder and longer to make a better living. In order to give the best to our loved ones, we put so much into our work that we end up sacrificing our time with the very loved ones we are supposedly working for. 当然, there is a bit of hypocrisy when most workaholics choose work over life — they do it, not so much for their loved ones, but for a glorification, a justification or a validation of their existence. It is an unknown and unseen angst that is driving them. Getting the elusive work-live conflict right often necessitates an appreciation of that angst, and unconventional choices. 有时, in order to win, you have to break the rules of the game.

生活: East vs. West

In the last post we examined life from the perspective of evolutionary biology. Now let’s move on to philosophy. There is an important philosophical difference between the perspectives on life in the East and the West. These views form the backdrop to the rules of life, which shape everything from our familial and societal patterns to our hopes and prayers. How these rules (which depend on where you come from) do it is not merely interesting, but necessary to appreciate in today’s world of global interactions. In one of his lectures, Yale philosophy professor Shelly Kagan made a remark that the basic stance vis-a-vis 生活 (and death) in the West is that life is a good thing to have; it is a gift. Our job is to fill it with as much happiness, accomplishments and glory as possible.

The Eastern view is just the opposite – the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism is that life is suffering. 印度教, which gave birth to Buddhism, says things like this world and the cycle of life are very difficult (Iha Samsare Bahu DustareBhaja Govindam, 例如). Our job is to ensure that we don’t get too attached to the illusory things that life has to offer, including happiness. When we pray for our dead, we pray that they be relieved of the cycle of life and death. Deliverance is non-existence.

当然, I am vastly oversimplifying. (Let me rephrase that — this oversimplified version is all I know. I am very ignorant, but I plan to do something about it very soon.) Viewed in the light of these divergent stances against the conundrum of life, we see why westerners place such a premium on personal happiness and glory, while their eastern counterparts tend to be fatalistic and harp on the virtues of self sacrifice and lack of ambition (or its first cousin, 贪心).

To an ambitious westerner, any chance at an incremental increase in personal happiness (through a divorce and remarriage, 例如) is too good an opportunity to pass up. On the other side of the globe, to one brought up in the Hindu way of life, happiness is just another illusory manifestation not to be tempted by. Those caught in between these two sets of rules of life may find it all very confusing and ultimately frustrating. That too is a macro level pattern regimented by the micro level rules of the game.

Game of Life

We started this series with chess and then moved on to the socio-political topology of a typical corporate landscape. Both could be understood, in some vague and generous sense, in terms of a simple set of rules. If I managed to convince you of that satement, it is thanks to my writing prowess, rather than the logical cohesion of my argument. I am about to extend that shaky logic to the game of life; and you should be wary. But I can at least promise you a good read.

好, with that reservation stated and out of the way, let’s approach the problem systematically. My thesis in this series of posts is that the macro-level patterns of a dynamic system (like a chess game, corporate office, or life itself) can be sort of predicted or understood in terms of the rules of engagement in it. In chess, we saw that general pattern of any game (viz. structured beginning, messy mid-game, clean endgame with a win, lose or draw) is what the rules prescribe. In this last post, we are going to deal with life. In a trivial analogy to chess, we can describe the pattern like this: we are all born somewhere and some point in time, we make our play for a few years, and we bow out with varying amount of grace, regardless of how high we soar and how low we sink during our years. But this pattern, though more rigorously followed than our chess pattern, is a bit too trivial. What are the salient features or patterns of human life that we are trying to understand? Human life is so complex with so many aspects of existence and dimensions of interactions among them that we can only hope to understand a limited projection of a couple of its patterns. Let’s choose the pattern of family units first.

The basic set of rules in human life comes from evolutionary biology. As a famous man put it, nothing in biology (or life itself, I would think) makes sense except in the light of evolution. 另一方面, everything from gender politics to nuclear family units makes perfect sense as the expressions of the genetic commands encoded in our DNA, although we may be stretching the hypothesis to fit the facts (which is always possible to do) when we view it that way. Let’s look at the patterns of gender relations in family units, with the preamble that I am a total believer in gender equality, 至少, my own brand of it.

Evolutionary biology tells us that the instruction encoded in our genes is very simple — just live a little longer, which is at the root of our instincts for self preservation and reproduction. 到底, this instruction expresses itself as a man’s hidden antipathy toward monogamy and a woman’s overt defense of its virtues. Although this oft-repeated argument can be seen as a feeble attempt at justifying the errant and philandering behavior of man, it has simplicity on its side. It makes sense. The argument goes like this: in order to ensure the continued survival of his genes, a man has to mate with as many partners as possible, as often as possible. 另一方面, given the long gestation period, a woman optimizes the survival chances of her genes by choosing the best possible specimen as her mate and tying him down for undivided attention and for future use. Monogamy indeed is virtuous from her perspective, but too cruel a rule in a man’s view. To the extent that most of the world has now adopted monogamy and the associated nuclear family system as their preferred patterns, we can say that women have won the gender war. Why else would I feel scared to post this article? Weaker sex, indeed!

Evolutionary biology is only one way of looking at life. Another interesting set of rules comes from spiritual and religious philosophy, which we will look at in the next post.

Art of Corporate War

A more complex example of how the rules shape the patterns on the ground is the corporate game. The usual metaphor is to portray employees as cogs in the relentless wheel of the corporate machinery, or as powerless pawns in other people’s power plays. But we can also think of all of them as active players with their own resources engaged in tiny power plays of their own. So they end up with a corporate life full of office politics, smoke and mirrors, and pettiness and backstabbing. When they take these things personally and love or hate their co-workers, they do themselves an injustice, 我认为. They should realize that all these features are the end result of the rules by which they play the corporate game. The office politics that we see in any modern workspace is the topology expected of the rules of the game.

What are these famous rules I keep harping on? You would expect them to be much more complex that those of a simple chess game, given that you have a large number of players with varying agendas. But I’m a big fan of simplicity and Occam’s Razor as any true scientist should be (which is an oblique and wishful assertion that I am still one, 当然), and I believe the rules of the corporate game are surprisingly simple. As far as I can see, there are just twoone is that the career progression opportunities are of a pyramid shape in that it gets progressively more difficult to bubble to the top. The other rule is that at every level, there is a pot of rewards (such as the bonus pool, 例如) that needs to be shared among the co-workers. From these rules, you can easily see that one does better when others do badly. Backstabbing follows naturally.

In order to be a perfect player in this game, you have to do more than backstabbing. You have to develop an honest-to-john faith in your superiority as well. Hypocrisy doesn’t work. I have a colleague who insists that he could do assembly-level programming before he left kindergarten. I don’t think he is lying per-se; he honestly believes that he could, 据我可以告诉. 现在, this colleague of mine is pretty smart. 然而, after graduating from an IIT and working at CERN, I’m used to superior intelligences and geniuses. And he ain’t it. But that doesn’t matter; his undying conviction of his own superiority is going to tide him over such minor obstacles as reality checks. I see stock options in his future. If he stabs someone in the back, he does it guiltlessly, almost innocently. It is to that level of virtuosity that you have to aspire, if you want to excel in the corporate game.

Almost every feature of the modern corporate office, from politics to promotions, and backstabbing to bonuses, is a result of the simple rules of the game that we play it by. (Sorry about the weak attempt at the first letter rhyme.) The next expansion of this idea, 当然, is the game of life. We all want to win, but ultimately, it is a game where we will all lose, because the game of life is also the game of death.

游戏规则

Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman used to employ the game of chess as a metaphor for the pursuit of physics. Physicists are like uninitiated spectators at a chess match, and they are trying figure out the rules of the game. (He also used 性别, but that’s another story.) They observe the moves and try figure out the rules that govern them. Most of the easy ones are soon discovered, but the infrequent and complex ones (such as castling, to use Feynman’s example) are harder to decipher. The chess board is the universe and the players are presumably the Gods. So when Albert Einstein’s Albert Einstein said that he wanted to know God’s thoughts, and that the rest were details, he probably meant he wanted to know the rules and the strategies based on them. Not the actual pattern on the board at any point in time, which was a mere detail.

A remarkable Indian writer and thinker, O. V. Vijayan, also used the metaphor of a chess game to describe the armed strife between India and her sibling neighbor. He said that our too countries were mere pawns in a grand chess game between giant players of the cold war. The players have stopped playing at some point, but the pawns still fight on. What made it eerie (in a Dr. Strangelove sort of way) is the fact that the pawns had huge armies and nuclear weapons. When I first read this article by O. V. Vijayan, his clarity of perspective impressed me tremendously because I knew how difficult it was to see these things even-handedly without the advantage of being outside the country — the media and their public relations tricks make it very difficult, if not impossible. It is all very obvious from the outside, but it takes a genius to see it from within. But O. V. Vijayan’s genius had impressed me even before that, and I have a short story and a thought snippet by him translated and posted on this blog.

Chess is a good metaphor for almost everything in life, with its clear and unbending rules. But it is not the rules themselves that I want to focus on; it is the topology or the pattern that the rules generate. Even before we start a game, we know that there will be an outcome — it is going to be a win, loss or a draw. 1-0, 0-1 或 0.5-0.5. How the game will evolve and who will win is all unknown, but that it will evolve from an opening of four neat rows through a messy mid game and a clear endgame is pretty much given. The topology is pre-ordained by the rules of the game.

A similar set of rules and a consequent topology exists in the corporate world as well. 这就是接下来的文章主题.