Externalities, Inferences, and the establishing of contrived truth.9
knicq posted in Jalali Baba on February 25th, 2007
There was never a doubt in my mind, and now there are many. Perhaps, they were always there; perhaps they just hid themselves very well, or perhaps, I have just started paying more attention to what transpires in and around me. Yes… perhaps.
Saab is more sure of himself. He does not second guess himself. “Can I or can I not?”, “Will I?”, “Can I really?”; these are not questions he is likely to pose himself. He believes more in forging ahead and finding the answer. If he can, he can; if he cannot, he cannot; if he will, he will; and if he will not, he obviously will not. It is that simple for him. It was hardly ever this simple for me, but it used to be simpler not very long ago. One wonders if all this second guessing is a consequence of having been too close to Jalali Baba for far too long, which is why one is a fool, and there are two more reasons one is:
The first is that there is little to wonder here. Jalali baba takes second guessing beyond an art form. He makes it into a compulsive behavioral disorder, much like everything else about his personna is. Staying close to him, and being his most favored disciple, until very recently at least when he liberated me from the shackles of his “peerdom”, had to carry its own externalities. ‘Externalities’ figures in my posts quite often, primarily because I like to think I still remember something from that course in economics which I had taken during my academic life. Life, Saab says, is little else than academic, which, if true, means that academic life should be classified as a redundant term, which it is not – not so far anyway, not to the best my knowledge. The best of my knowledge, in JB’s view, is not a very reliable source for knowledge; and JB’s view, to the best of my knowledge, is not much of a view to lend credibility to anything; which is all besides the point since all I wanted to clarify was that externality, if I remember correctly, is a fancy word for side-effects or by-products.
There is every likelihood that I do, in fact, remember correctly since I have been using this term for almost a decade now, and have hardly allowed it to fade from my memory. This decade-long usage in itself is little evidence to prove the correctness of what I remember correctly; the former pertains to the accuracy of the fact in question, while the latter has more to do with the accurate recollection of the fact – accurate or otherwise. There are four possible combinations of the former and the latter, which are as follows:
- Both the fact and the recollection are accurate.
- The fact is accurate, but the recollection is less than accurate.
- The recollection is accurate, but the information recollected was wrong to begin with.
- Niether the information, nor the recollection of it is accurate.
If one were to look closely at the four possibilities stated above, one would realize that whatever else they might help us in concluding, what they cannot help us in proving is that the information remembered as fact here is in fact accurate. More importantly, none of the above is lent more credibility simply because I have been quoting this information as fact over a prolonged period of time.
The second is that there is precious little that meets Jalali Baba’s approval, and this is common knowledge. Jalali Baba sets exacting standards, and raises the bar every now and then, since every now and then human ambition and endurance triumphs over Jalali Baba’s under-estimation of human potential, and over-estimation of human incompetence; and someone somewhere manages to come within striking distance of what Jalali Baba calls ‘cieling of human competence’, thereby making it mandatory to raise the bar, and with it the afore-mentioned cieling, once again. Saab is of the view that Jalali Baba can thus be credited with motivating the human race to realize its true potential, but Saab knows little about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is a cornerstone of modern motivation theory. Hence it is safe to conclude that Saab’s stance on the subject is, at best, flawed. All Jalali Baba does achieve through his ever-rising standards and summary disapproval of all that surrounds him is perpetual second-guessing and a pervading lack of confidence.
I digress. Staying close to JB, I infer from personal experience, had to have its own externalities, mostly negative and rarely positive, since externalities, I seem to recall, can be both positive or negative. ‘Positive externalities’ is a fancy way of saying by-products, and negative externalities is an economist’s way of saying ‘side-effects’. This co-relation, I must admit, is entirely my own inference, and is unlikely to be found in any libraries, unless of course there are libraries somewhere which have had the good sense to accumulate my inferences into tomes of wisdom for the welfare of mankind. By-products are good since they can be sold for additional revenue, while side-effects are bad since they must be endured when mild, and cured when not so mild.I have hardly been able to sell anything arising out of my closeness with JB, which is an important bit of information since it leads us to multiple inferences. The first of these inferences is that even though I did make a provision for a rare positive externality arising out of being under JB’s tutelege for an extended period of time, empirical data suggests that such a provision was totally unnecessary, and may be discarded without fear of any negative externality arising out of such discarding. Another direct inference tells us that all externalities arising out of being JB’s lone disciple are necessarily negative, and hence I have endured much and must be cured of some; worryingly enough, at this point we do not even know for a fact if I have endured some and need to be cured of much.
I am beginning to make a good many inferences lately, and this I infer, is a direct consequence of an earlier inference that the thought process is capable of functioning on its own, and without the not-too-gentle prodding from Jalali Baba, and that there is little wrong in any such thought process. This was an inference borne out of the realization that yours truly was Jalali Baba’s lone disciple, and not having Jalali Baba as their spiritual misguide had not deterred quite a few other people, the rest of the world to be precise, from launching into the thought process game entirely on their own. The damning evidence, of course, was the possibility, distant but real, that these people had fared rather well, which is a less dignified way of admitting that they had done better than yours truly, who had been led to believe for the longest time that having Jalali Baba as the spiritual misguide entitled him to exclusive rights to doing well in the thought process exercise.
There’s a little piece that plays when Elliot is done talking with his cellmate towards the end of the movie “Bedazzled”, and it is brilliant. What is amazing is that I have seen the movie at least a dozen times, and I had never noticed it before. Perhaps, I was never in the mood I am today. Perhaps, one of the pre-requisites to get into that mood is to have seen the movie a dozen times without having noticed that lovely bit of music. After all, everything we are led into today is a consequence of all the things we were led into in the preceding units of time. We are where we are, because we were where we were; wherever we were when we were where we were, whenever we were wherever we were before we got to where we are. It might sound a little convulated and a tad contrived, but its the truth.