startling banals

24 July 2007

Disciplined Minds

"Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives" by Jeff Schmidt

All of us can relate to the theme of the individual in an overbearing system that demands conformity. There is a website about the book.

I had read a book 'Of Men and Galaxies' by Fred Hoyle that my friend Girish had suggested. It is a collection of 3 of his lectures given in 1964. These are very brilliant thoughts of a great scientist but the first lecture is most interesting. It is a brief appraisal of scientific research and its culture over the years and the way it has changed and become a game of cornering the most funds and wearing an attitude of 'professionalism'. He warns scientists of such tendencies and suggest an alternate fresh outlook towards research.

Prof Yashpal in his lecture at Techfest 2004 in IITB had said that the best ideas in research do not come up so much in labs and offices as in university canteens and cafetarias and joked that spending time in canteens should be made compulsory. He was appealing for an open-minded approach to studies and research, reminding us that learning and discovery is supposed to be fun.


And he couldn't be more truer.

As for conformity it is a way devised to exert control and conform to the goals of the one exerting control . . . where any deviation is taken as indiscipline and provides a handle to 'straighten out' the 'culprit' concerned.

All corporations work that way.
Blogger Anil P, at 24.7.07  
hi anil!

yes i agree the pressure to conform must be great in corporations but we all have to conform at all levels to be accepted in any kind of formal institution. school, university, society, family, nation - all of them adopt carrot and stick systems of rewards and punishments to make us obey.

so a test for a democratic institution will be how much it allows its members to be themselvesfe without of course harming others.

my socio prof kushal deb had discussed some people who said that 'the right of exit' is a key criterion for a true democratic system.
Blogger anish, at 25.7.07  
Very true abt the cafeterias and Canteens...and the wine houses :)

but it would be nice to have labs nearby

- B V N
Anonymous Anonymous, at 25.7.07  
yes bvn not to forget the labs completely :)
Blogger anish, at 26.7.07  

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