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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Friday, May 28, 2004

Living in India - come visit !

A picture named lil.gifOk - i have been really bad about not having blogged this earlier - Living in India is a group blog - a blogzine - that i have been occasionally (guilty here) posting some of my blogs specific to India to - its a neat aggregation of bloggers writing on India.  Edward Hugh who blogs at Bonoboland, along with a few others, is really the wind beneath the wings of the entire 'Living In' series.   An exuberant and passionate person who loves publicly 'undressing brains' :):):).

Great to see the new design, rss feeds and author links all done up Edward - and i particularly love the linklog through the aggregator! 

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Blog - Butterfly Effect and Creative Chaos

Julian has this neat synthesis of thoughts on the Unpredictable Emergence of Learning.  Just yesterday, i was exchanging emails with Jon Strande who wanted to blogroll me -  and couldn't quite figure where to slot my blog - technology? business?  general/other?.  I too was at a loss - because i do tend to dip my fingers into a wide variety of topics.  Was tempted to say all - even 'marketing' :):):) - but thats silly - so i said to him - general/other perhaps seems like the best fit.  Am not sure i wouldn't have liked to be slotted elsewhere though - would be nice to have a 'specialist' tag - helps get you business for sure - then thats not really what my blog is, is it ?

Should i be bothered by it ?  Guess i am happy to be a polymath too !  And i have got paying business as a result of blogging.

Thinking butterflies and Creative Chaos :):):).  Where the flutter of a butterfly's wings in China could actually effect weather patterns in New York City, thousands of miles away. So a very small occurance can produce unpredictable and sometimes drastic results by triggering a series of increasingly significant events.

I'd like to keep that as the guiding force behind my blog !

Quoting Julian's piece in full - read the links too - they are really very interesting :

"Interesting synchronicity of posts that have caught my attention in the last 24 hours

Yesterday I blogged Suw Charmanís thoughts about being a generalist / polymath, in particular the tendency for useful real-world knowledge to come out of the unique overlaps between fields created by the particular experiences of one person.

Earlier today I linked to Tony Goodson on Butterfly Moments and Bricolage ñ his experience that general tinkering about across various subjects and ideas often leads to unexpected benefits at later times.

And now Iíve just read George Por writing on How local meetings with global experts can boost CI in which he advocates cross-fertilization of generative ideas and transformative practices, across organizational cultural and geographic boundaries and goes on to advocate horizontalization of learning in a given domain between those who have been giving more or less attention to explore and contribute to that domain ñ that to me sounds like conversations between specialists and generalists ...

George ends his post by extolling the virues of asynchronous methods such as blogs to make the best of face-to-face conversations.

So what is the link between these entries?

For me there are several:

  • Generalist / Polymath learning exists, contributes knowledge and helps the horizontal distribution of knowledge;
  • The public, linked, asynchronous nature of blogs and related technologies both exposes conversations to a wider pool of people and helps the ideas start to flow before any face-to-face meeting;
  • The benefits of any specific piece of knowledge are not always forseeable until the right combination of circumstances and other people arises ñ in other words unpredictable emergent behaviour; "

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Avatars - Indian Origins

I have 'Avatars' on my mind.  Triggered off by Richard's post on Weblogs as Avatars.  And comments he left here. And while playing with the new Yahoo Messenger (version 6.0) that allows one to create your own avatar and share it.  

The word avatar has its etymological origins in Sanskrit (Sanskrit avatra, descent (of a deity from heaven), avatar  : ava, down + tarati, he crosses - source here), and finds its place in most Indian languages.  We hear the word used so often here in our day-to-day lives and in common parlance - for instance, a person of great virtue is often called 'bhagwan ka avataar' (incarnation of God).

For many Indians, 'avatar' means an incarnation of God, and usually, it is manifest in an object of worship or admiration. The Hindu Trimurti of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva (Generator-Sustainer-Destroyer) have several avatars and countless incarnations - as idols for families to worship, deities for every village and occupation - each of these Gods has descended to earth and answers to many thousand names. For instance, in the case of Vishnu - the seventh avatar is Rama, the eighth is Krishna, the ninth is Buddha (source here).

Quoting from here - some dictionary definitions :

"Av`a`tar´   Pronunciation: ãv`å`tạr´

1.avatar - a new personification of a familiar idea; "the embodiment of hope"; "the incarnation of evil"; "the very avatar of cunning"

  • embodiment, incarnation personification - a person who represents an abstract quality; "she is the personification of optimism"
  • deification - an embodiment of the qualities of a god; "the capitalists' deification of capital"
  • reincarnation - embodiment in a new form (especially the reappearance or a person in another form); "his reincarnation as a lion"

2.avatar - the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in human or superhuman or animal form; "the Buddha is considered an avatar of the god Vishnu"

  • Jagannath, Jagannatha, Jagganath, Juggernaut - an avatar of Vishnu
  • Kalki - the 10th and last incarnation of Vishnu
  • Krishna - 8th and most important avatar of Vishnu; incarnated as a handsome young man playing a flute
  • Rama - avatar of Vishnu whose name is synonymous with God; any of three incarnations: Ramachandra or Parashurama or Balarama; "in Hindu folklore Rama is the epitome of chivalry and courage and obedience to sacred law"

Interesting to note it was 'word of the day' on July 23, 2001.  And Google can find 12,400,000 webpages on 'avatar'. 

Interesting too how the web world has adopted the concept and term.  Some examples i can think of - Ray (AI) Kurzweil's experiments with Ramona - his virtual alter-ego ; Ultima game series - where avatar is the embodiment of virtue. 

11:58:36 AM    comment []  trackback []