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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ignoring him would've been the best way

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This post is summary of few life lessons. Lessons that we the people and media of this nation don't seem to learn even when repeatedly encountered.

When was the last time someone changed his opinion because of your convincing argument against it? If you are among the world's top most elocutionist and honest in your self-assessment, you probably have changed opinions of less than 10% of people you tried changing opinion of. If you are an average man, number will be less than one in hundred. Lesson: Someone doesn't just his opinion just because you have few choice arguments against it. Specially not if person had opinion on the topic to begin with and was not on the fence. Changing someone's view points takes (at least) months of words and action combination (among other things).

Every action has cost and consequence. Every action is motivated by incentives. What did one want when one do something? Are you giving him the very same thing even though you claim not to? Lesson: Focus on the root motivation.

I try to keep this blog free from news-dependent posts to focus on ideas and not events and people. But I just have to say this: Asaram Ji, you've won. Public of this country played exactly as you wanted.

What did he want when he stated unreasonable opinion? What did reaction of public and media gave him?

Let's recap current version: He said obviously stupid thing to small gathering in small town in Rajasthan. People and media reacted, criticized, made fun of, and made him retract his argument. He was instantly famous all over India. From the above life lesson we can be sure that neither he nor his followers really changed their belief: those who agreed with him wouldn't change the view now and those who didn't don't need to change. What will be gained by wasting resource and money on him? Say, really, unto his heart, he changes his mind, so what? Is that's best use of hundreds of media hours, lakhs of man hours, and lakhs of rupees?

Let's imagine alternative history in case people weren't stupid. He said obviously stupid thing to small gathering in small town in Rajasthan. Some of his followers who agreed with him, nodded in agreement. Those who didn't, disagreed in heart, and probably decided to not continue to follow him. End of story.

Freedom of speech is a tough concept to understand. We instantly align with freedom when curb is placed on freedom of press or public expression. Yet, we need to understand that very same freedom implies such bad statements too. And we need to have them their way. Criticizing others for saying what you don't agree with doesn't go hand in hand with demanding freedom to say what you agree with, be it good or bad. And until we have that maturity, we don't really want the freedom per se, we just want freedom for us.

There have been, are and will be idiots in the world. A wise man learns to ignore them. Rest are idiots in different category.
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