Sunday, August 30, 2009

People are unique, not equal - one side of the story

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”

This is the catch phrase in the Orwellian classic ‘Animal Farm’. Think about it. Is this true? From a demographical point of view this statement holds good. From a biological view, it doesn’t. When we look at this statement at a very basic level (in fact a level 0 interpretation) we can argue that we are all made up of DNA, the building block of life. Assume for a moment that we all are made up of DNA and don't look at differences in the DNA. Think at a fundamental level. We could have gone deeper and say that we are made of Carbon. Can we now safely presume that for all carbon based living beings (including the tobacco-mosaic virus), the primary instinct of survival and replication are hardwired? We know that alphabets in a word can be strung together to form words that mean different. In the same way, at an abstract level, the rules of the game change, but, at a very fundamental level we are all the same.

Look at democracy. At a vital level it does not seem to seem to support the tenet. However, it does when you apply segmentation to it. But imagine now for a moment that a vote is being cast by 2 people. An illiterate farmer and a Ph.D. They have the same voting rights. Not just that. Their votes count also the same. Now some may feel that this practice is alright. But what happens to millions of votes which are purchased on ‘muscle’ power or obtained as a kickback. Now we have an honest vote and a dishonest vote. But all end up in the count as a ‘vote’. Is this fair? A vote should not be binary. Because, it’s not the vote that matters, but the people behind it who do. And people are unique, not equal.

In the same way, you cannot compare a Nokia mobile with a iPhone. Both are used for communication, but the applicability varies. And so does the design. At a basic level both of them may be using the same chip to process voice, but the final outcome is different. We term it as user experience, which once again is subjective. Let us not try to compare apples with oranges. However we always do this. The moment we get hold of two things that looks or feels similar , we tend to compare. Two things: Absolute and relative. The former is intrinsic in nature and holds the same weight age across the universe. But perceptions fall under the latter category. And the world that we see is nothing but a perceived view of an underlying hypothesis.

To get to point ‘B’ from ‘A’ on the same train, it pretty much looks like standard transport. But one person is trying to get to ‘B’ while another is running away from ‘A’. For a third person point 'B' may be a stop-over. Needs vary and this is time dependent. In the same way, perceptions also vary with time. What may have been true in the last 10 years may not hold good after 10 years.

But one thing is there: the stars will keep shining; the rivers would flow; the trees would rustle in the wind, whether we treat things equal or otherwise …



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