A Networked Community of Fragmented ‘Selves’

Most of us are not one unitary self, as we think we are. Rather we are a networked bundle of ‘selves’ somehow getting by in the same body.

For example, Self 1, of a young lady might decide that she must lose some weight within the next six months or so. So, she goes to a gym that promises her to help her shed some specific weight within a specific time period. She then reads up a a lot on ‘diets’ and invests her time and energy in following those. That ‘self’ in her also buys a bathroom scale to keep a watch on her weight reduction program.

But ‘Self 2’, of the same young lady also likes to splurge on the latest ice-creams and chocolates and grilled ham sandwiches  and that ‘Self 2’ takes care to load her refrigerator with assorted kinds of ice-creams, chocolates and sandwiches, which her ‘Self 2’ would like to enjoy when ‘Self 2’ would be bored or happy for some reason.

Similarly, ‘Self 3’ wonders whether a little infidelity would make life worth living. But her ‘Self 4’, conditioned by years of conditioning at school and home would only let such a thing happen over her dead body.

While all these ‘selves’ are fighting with each other, Self 5 desires to do well in her post graduate exams so that she would be able to crack the tough test for getting a prestigious job in the Indian Administrative Service.

Likewise, there are so many ‘selves’ in a person clamoring for attention and action. These different ‘selves’ existing within each of us, have their specific intentions, specific behavior patterns that result in actions (mostly predictable and repeatable) that take up our time. She fills up the day with many activities that lend a comforting support to her different ‘selves’ nested within her body. She is in a constant race against time to fulfill the intention of each self. Therefore, she becomes too busy maintaining her different selves, which might wear her down by the end of the day. In fact, she through her effort creates too many inauthentic constraints that impedes normal flow of life. The constraints she creates, both authentic and inauthentic, shape her destiny.

The point is we are psychologically ‘fragmented’ but most often we might not be even aware of such internal fragmentation. We might be simply too preoccupied with a confused whirl of fleeting sensations, memories, intentions, feelings, thoughts, behavior, must-do-tasks and emotions. Caught in such a vortex we are certainly prevented from seeing and noticing what needs to be seen or noticed. We are lost in a haze of preoccupation and anxieties for different reasons or we are numbed by the sheer sensory overload that comes from modern living. It affects our health and living. There are always too many things to do, so many people to see (physically) or interact over social media, so many meetings to attend, so many things to be told to so many people, so much money to earn, just so many deadlines to meet. Years might pass before we finally stop and look at these different selves within ourselves before we decide to create a new course of life based on focused attention.

So, the questions are:

What happens if the ‘selves’ weren’t aware of each other?

What happens if the selves simply knew each other well enough to form a community of strongly networked selves that help each other grow?

What happens if a person tries to create or design synergy between different selves?

How does one become a better spectator and player in the networked community of human society that constantly interacts with nature – both within and without?



1. Quantum Theory and Nemetics

2. Winning Anywhere – the Power of See


Power of Visual Story Telling!

Few days back I submitted a written consulting report  to an owner of an NGO. This was to improve productivity of the process of making natural eco-friendly fertilizers. With rising costs he was increasingly finding it difficult to sustain the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ business. So improving productivity was his only means to not only save his business but also to save his customers – the poor farmers. The farmers use this eco-friendly product to improve farm productivity and also feed their live stock.

So the project was important to me. If I can help him improve productivity then I would also be able to contribute to sustainable and resilient rural communities.

I visited them. And clinically went through the present process. Then I wrote my ideas and recommendations in a written report and emailed it.

I quote the relevant extracts from the report:


A) Reduce the size of the batch being processed in the initial stage. 
At present a large quantity of raw material is processed in one go. It is slow, time taking and perhaps non-uniform. It suffers from all the 3 Mudas.
Break it up into smaller chunks.
For example a single batch may contain just the right amount of material that can be processed into finished product in a day. For instance if only 1T of finished product can be processed in a day then the batch sizes would be of 1T only.
A 1. Stagger 
The whole batch is processed in one go. That is the whole batch is left for fermentation for the next 7 to 10 days depending on the prevailing season of the year before it is taken out for further sorting and processing. It suffers from all the 3 Mudas.
Since it takes 7 to 10 days (varies between summer and winter) for the raw meal to be ready for further processing. The batches can be planned in such a way depending on the season of the year — where preparation and production are in sync and it can start after the first batch is ready. It means the first batch is taken out after the 7th day and the next batch (prepared a day later) is taken out on the 8th day from the start of the production and so on…
B) Combine Preparation and Fermentation 
The preparation is done in a separate area. This is followed by storing for fermentation which is carried out in a separate area in plastic drums.
Combine the two processes.
Prepare the raw meal in the fermentation drum directly. It combines two activities in one stroke.
A suitable size of drum (used oil drums cut into halves) may be used for the purpose. The drums may be designed like the boiler drum available in the xxx office which would allow for stirring and mixing as well as act as air tight drums, which is necessary for fermentation.
The sprinkling of the chemicals that is required during preparation of the raw meal might be carried out in the way mosquito repellents are sprayed with the drum placed on the back of the sprayer. Similar drum containing the chemical can be strapped onto the back of the operator who sprays the required amount of chemical into the raw meal.
There is a need to constantly stir the raw meal during preparation. This can be done manually by means of a gear drive made of plastic or wood (so that heavy lubrication is avoided, which may spill into the raw meal – thus contaminating it).
After the meal is prepared the drums can be shut tight (air tight) by a similar mechanism used for the xxx boiler drum.
The same drum can be placed on a titling mechanism (similar to platform used for industrial gases) which can be lowered when needed to the required height for packing and weighing.
Such a jugaard (half drum, detachable and movable cover, gear driven manual stirrer, chemical spray dispenser,  air tight mechanism, mounting on a tilting table like the way industrial gas cylinders are mounted) might be created for processing smaller batches.
C) Filling up the packets by calibrated mugs. 
At present the operator fills up the packets by haunch/feel. Then the right amount is adjusted after weighment. This is a trail and error method that entails a loss of productive time.
The material can be filled by help of calibrated mugs that would contain either 1 kg of raw meal (for 1 kg packs) or 2.5 kg of raw meal (for 5 kg packs). This improves accuracy, speed of operation and minimizes time losses from the system.
Presently the sequence of the processing is bit haphazard. This cause time loss and motion loss.
The entire process may be laid out in a orderly and logical sequence to eliminate motion loss, time loss and loss due to unevenness of loading.
The floor can be raised and leveled for that purpose complete with suitable and reliable electrical connections wherever needed. This would also prevent inundation of the work place by rain water during monsoon.
I am sure you found it difficult to follow what I recommended.
The owner, though he knew about the process, also found it difficult to follow the report. He called me up to say, ‘Hey, my men and I did not quite get what you want us to do in your report. Is it possible for you to come down and explain? I would be obliged if you may.”
Coming from a man who passed out from one of the best MBA schools in the world rang a bell in my mind. So if he can’t get it surely others might also find it difficult. And clearly there was any story here.
However, I wanted to avoid a visit (I never love physical travel) and thought what else might I do to make it clear to him and his men.What followed was a pictorial representation of what I wrote, which is as follows:
process (1)
After he got the pictorial view of the story I called him up to ask how he liked it. “Simply brilliant story!’ he replied.
I thank my colleagues Rick De and T R Khan for creating this moving visual story.
A picture is worth a thousand words — surely!!