Thursday, March 29, 2007


Courtesy of Mr. Edward T. Hall, cultural anthropologist extraordinaire (whose work I've quoted here before), I've had yet another amazing insight... not only into the fields and the people that study the human mind & human relationships, but an insight into my own mind.

In his simple, clear-cut flow of writing, he says that we grow up, learn and continue to use things like TVs and cars throughout our lives, yet most of us have no clue about electronics or mechanics.....we can't describe how a TV or a car actually works. Similarly, we grow up and live our whole lives in a particular culture(s), yet most of us have no clue about how that culture it affects us and how we affect it. And in many ways, culture is far more complex than electronics or mechanics.

I've never looked at my cultural sensitivities and abilities like that.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Extension Transference

Another one of the interesting ideas from what is turning out to be the best book I've read in the past few months - Beyond Culture by Edward T. Hall.


Hall refers to things like language, tools, instruments etc. as 'extensions' -- things that humans used to overcome their physical limitations, and thereby evolve more radically than any other species. These extensions have many fascinating characteristics......over the millennia, most have grown to become separate entities in themselves, with their own bodies of knowledge and skills to be learnt.

But because extensions can take on a life of their own, they are also confused with the process that was originally extended. He calls this confusion 'Extension Transference'. And one of the most complex system of extensions which is often subjected to transference, is culture. Culture is experienced as man and vice versa. Further, man is frequently seen as a pale reflection of his culture or as a shoddy version that never quite measures up, and man’s basic humanness is frequently overlooked or repressed in the process


Thursday, March 15, 2007


All the stress and nightmares aside, I really am grateful for my dissertation process. Its led me to discover fascinating impressions and expressions, and has literally opened up my eyes, not only to the world outside, but the world inside me. Inside my mind, to be more specific! Now on, I'm going to post some of these ideas and thoughts that truly got me thinking.

From Tony Morden's Principles of Management:



Is the idea that "similar ends can be achieved from different paths and from different starting points, for instance depending on the character of the conditions or contingencies prevailing in the external environment"

How true this is of life.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I am plodding on through the process of completing my dissertation and its very easy to buckle under the more-than-healthy amounts of stress. Its even more easy to forget that there is a lot, in fact everything, in my life to be humbly grateful for...

...that I can devote all my time and attention to completing my education without having to work simultaneously;

...that I have a family giving me all the moral support and encouragement I need;

...that I have come into contact with knowledge and ideas that amaze and fascinate me;

...that I may have found the direction, the purpose of my professional life;

...that I just have the chance to learn.

That is what this is about. For the past few months, I've been living and breathing my dissertation. There have been times, like now, when I've felt like I'm submerged in a tube full of water and am struggling to get to the surface.... and every time I start to get close and see light, someone dumps more water into the tube and I go further down.

Its very easy in this process, to let your ego get totally carried away and feel like what you're doing will usher in the next Renaissance. What I need to remind myself is, like one wise man advising millions of students like me said, I don't have the responsibility of changing the whole world on my shoulders. This is a learning process for me. I need to be humble, I need to accept that neither I, nor minds far greater than mine, have found the answer. Its impossible in a subject like mine. I need to do my best, and just leave the rest....

Friday, March 02, 2007

G'bye Christmas Tree

This morning we took down our Christmas tree.....about two months later than most people (or maybe nearly everyone) did. Why? Because I wanted to have at least one birthday with the Christmas tree around. So I turned another year older a few days ago, baked a sexy chocolate cake, and had photos clicked of me hugging the tree.

I guess the basic reason why I wanted the tree to remain stems from sibling rivalry. My sis was born two days before Christmas, so she's always had the tree during her birthday. It wouldn't have been practical to leave the tree up that long in Bombay. But here..... central air-conditioning = relatively dust-free environment = no worries about the tree getting messed up = Shalom can have the Christmas tree till her birthday!