Monday, May 11, 2009

Sensationalists at Workplace

We all come across numerous losers who get emotional about things in all ways except the correct one. This post is an ode to them.

Their behaviour is characterised by one singlemost quality: Whatever they are talking about, they will give you normative statements about it before giving out positive ones. In other words, they will impress you with how strongly they feel about a thing before they reveal their real understanding of it. A list of examples follows:

- It's a good site. (I have studied it.)
- It's a beautiful theory. (I have understood it.)
- It's based on raag yaman. Lovely raaga! (I know about this raaga.)
- Tolstoy's writings gives me goosebumps. So intricate! (I have read Tolstoy's work.)
- This country is going to dogs! You should shoot all the politicians. (I am concerned about the nation's welfare.)
- This is my favourite part of my thesis. (I have done my PhD with a lot of affection. Therefore it's a good thesis.)

- ...

It's generally understood that you get emotional about something you are deeply involved in. So, the easiest way to prove the existence of your deep involvement in something, particularly when the involvement is not there, is to show your emotions about the thing. It shows that you have it in you to get deeply involved in something, which needs you to be at some level of intelligence. So, if the listener is weak enough in logic not to see that emotions are not a sufficient condition for intelligence, and is gullible enough to believe that your emotional involvement is authentic in the first place, he'll interpret it as a sign of your intelligence.

I'm sure we all have learned to expect such people around us in parties, conferences, workplace etc. Also there are some disguises in which the same thing appears. For example, use of superlatives, e.g.
- I read it a long time back. (I have been involved in this for long. Hence, the involvement is ripe and deep.)

or casual/askance statements like:
- ...when I was talking with Queen Elizabeth last year ...(proves that I had been to England last year, and I mix around with monarchs, and most importantly it's no big deal for me.)
- I feel nauseous in the flight (Ya, I mean, I travel by air very often.)
- Man, M. G. Road parking situation is horrible! (I travel by car often.)

Similarly, for example, throwing jargons, e.g
- Picaso, right? It's surreal!
- Plutocracy bla bla totalitarianism bla blah bla ... existentialism bla bla bla blah... emricism, idealism...

Sometimes, it requires a conscious effort to resist the temptation to be one of this kind at occasions. But, it helps in general to stay away from this temptation. Discipline in this regard the makes it possible to experience the actual fun of emotional involvement. Faking it closes all roads to the authentic experience; or at best delays it severely.

I also beg your pardon for a slight tinge of cynicism in this post. I definitely don't mean that all high-sounding discourses are phony. Often, trying too hard to sound simple and modest could be the worst form of vanity. But definitely, if one is conscious (without being paranoid) of the germs of vanity that is present in all of us, we would learn to minimise its expression in our behaviour. I do feel this discipline to shun vanity is very hard to get, but unfortunately lies at the root of all ethical behaviour in professions like research, art and social-service.


Arun said...

enjoyed this post :)

Sambaran said...

Nice post. The only hitch is that I could identify myself as the vain-guy in some situations.