Saturday, September 19, 2009

De great infinity

I've been here long enough. There's lots to do, but that will to do it has dropped dramatically over the years (as it invariably does).

I always start new things with a vengeance... then the intensity begins to drop as I realise I can complete it. This applies to just about everything I've ever done (and possibly to everything I'll ever do). Let me give you an example or three. I switched schools relatively regularly in the early part of life; trying to get three kids in the same school at the same time in Delhi couldn't have been very easy for my mom. Every time I shifted schools, I'd be one of the class superstars. Things were new and interesting so I had the thrill of change to spur me on. The same thing happened at college where I started out with the seemingly effortless ability to do well. The marks started tapering off almost immediately because I realised that the subject material was all stuff that I'd learned; exceptions were handled erm... well... exceptionally.

I'd grown up thinking of everything as simple. Getting a machine to do what you wanted (no matter what you wanted it to do) was easy. At some point early in my experience with computers (in the early 80s) I came accross an article on Elisa - the first NLP program. Getting a machine to pretend it was human seemed to me to be the next step, so I started (a few years later - was always really lazy) working on an NLP program, only to realise that I had no idea how humans would react to situations and questions.

A 16 or 17 year old kid standing back and looking at his life and realising that he'd spent so much time understanding machines that he'd neglected one of the more important things in life. Life itself. This scared the living daylights out of me. I wasn't a machine, yet I could write a program to "emulate" me. I was at the time a relatively anal guy (yep... that's the word I'd use now). I had no problems with lending people stuff in college as long as they put them back... in the same place they found them... in EXACTLY the same place that they found them. I'd optimised my life to the extent that if anything was out of place it hurt because it was sub-optimal. At the time I was also neat to the point of OCD.

Then things began to rapidly change. While I was breezing through college, I took time off from talking to machines to actually interact with the scariness of people. I made it a point to get out and meet as many different types of people possible to get an insight into how they work. What they would do given a certain situation, how they'd react to external forces. I tried to change myself in the meantime into something less predictable. Someone yet. I discovered life. I moved over to chaos and (I didn't know the name at the time) the chinese concept of Tao - going with the flow. My neat and tidy room became, in second year, the place that it is now. Clothes thrown in what appears to be a haphazzard manner.

So here I am... drifting through life, allowing all earth shattering decisions to take care of themselves. Every now and then, there's a little push I put in, but life seems to be most enjoyable when you run with it. I'd turned what was an introverted technogeek to an extroverted philosopher. It's sometimes really difficult to get me started on a conversation, but it's usually very difficult to get me to shut up once I start. A mass of confusion topped with rigourous planning of my social calendar.

This story's far from complete... it just keeps going... it's life after all, so I'll publish now and consider part II sometime later... it's been over a month since I started on this post.

Lazy life...