Life, Universe and Everything

The seasons go by. Products, versions, managers come and go. Bargaining on efforts and scope. Someone wants a hike. Managers voicing hollow motivational talk. Seniors strutting their ego. Juniors who care most about getting drunk over the weekend. Specs “released” the day before the milestone. Audits, trainings, performance reviews, timesheets. Architects drunk on Microsoft kool aid. Or cloud computing kool aid. Or whatever.

Salary, every month. A privilege. Should be, at least. Damn good to pay bills with. Keeps you whole lot better off than a lot of other poor buggers out there. What else should matter? The more you shit money, the more wonderful you are.

An MNC. Household name. Wow. Status in soceity. Loans easier to come by. Discounts. Resumes of friends. A nice title: “Architect”. Catch all. Relatives like it. Good to tell their neighbours.

What more do you need in life? Why don’t you just settle down? Stop being hungry? Stop getting ticked off by corporate life?

Well, you know what? I tried to adjust to corporate life. You’d think one gets adjusted after over a decade, eh. Put in the statement form, the questions translate to: “cut the crap, count your blessings and raise your kids”. Uh, if only I was able to do that.

The maladjustment with the corporate life is just the result of frustration arising out of the conflict of needing to draw a salary on one hand, and on the other hand the realization that corporations really only require more solutions to a single, ever-present problem of how to make more profit. Corporations, companies, might be supportive — even assitive — of popular socio-economic (and nowadays environmental) betterment initiatives. Even if this is genuine (as opposed to being just another form of advertising), it still is not the reason why companies exist. Companies, at least the ones that I can hope to be employed with, are organizations designed to produce profit. Such organizations used to reward employees that made more profit. Nowadays they also reward employees (more) who take the meta step of causing or instituting process-level changes that make more profit. The latter is affectionately called “innovation” by business managers. I’m yet to hear of anyone who has been promoted because they came up with an innovative idea for their company to spend money on charity.

You see, I just can’t be in a “challenging role” with a “hot startup” — it might appease my creative instincts by providing intellectual puzzles, but I can’t turn a blind eye to what end my hard-earned experience is getting utilized for. For making a few people richer, even if it includes me.

Why shouldn’t I employ my experience (and whatever little talent I may have) for a better reason? I’m sure I won’t die any happier if I knew I’d solved a few more puzzles or had made more money.

But just what is a “better reason”?

I’ve searching that for a long, long time. Over five years at least. Maybe there is no answer. Maybe the general version is NP-hard. It’s THE question, you see — what to do in life?

Read this: people have been here, living, dying for hell of a long time now. Nobody knows what anyone a few generations back, did. And nobody cares too. But if what they did change something in the fabric of mankind, like an inventing something, formulating a theory, establish or propound a way of thinking, discover something substantial, then that has remained. The individual then is not important directly, it must be lasting change that he causes that is. The importance of the individual is limited to his being a vehicle for change.

Did that make sense? It does to me. At least for now. It’s been the most rational reason I could come up with. What I’m saying is:

The only reason for an individual to exist is to change the world.

Go ahead. Think about it.


  1. Hrish said,

    May 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Good to see you writing again.

    Yes, it makes sense. I feel that this is something that people arrive at at different points in their lives. For me, it was when I was about to reach 30. It’s different for different people – and very personal.

  2. rolfje said,

    Jun 6, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I like the part where you say “corporations really only require more solutions to a single, ever-present problem of how to make more profit”. Very well put.

    You seem to be struggling with similar thoughts I have. The “so then what” or “what’s the purpose” kind of questions. It must be our age I guess.

    As for my pet peeve, I’m glad you used the word “change” and not “grow”.
    (normal, helpful tech-article service should resume shortly after this break ;-) )

    Like Hrish said, glad to see you’re writing again. Keep’em coming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: