Thursday, September 03, 2009

Open Source

It helps to ask ourselves once in a while the questions, 'What am I doing?' and 'Why am I doing it?'. Human beings find it easy to live by rules. Rules make living easy and efficient, at least in the short term they do. Most animals live by instinct, which is nothing but rules ingrained into the DNA to increase chances of survival. Human beings on the other hand are highly social animals and have created for themselves artificial environments and therefore need to learn non-instinctive rules from family and society. This worked for generations and hence people stopped questioning many of these rules.

Post industrialization we came across a new phenomenon called generation gap. This phenomenon is common knowledge and is widely accepted but in the initial days, the adults didn't understand it, 'How is it that our children can't seem identify with our way of life when we never seemed to have any such problem with our parents?', they thought. It is this phenomenon of generation gap which was instrumental in bringing about the Hippie movement in the USA and almost simultaneously across the world.

This was the first sign of a rapidly changing civilization. Every facet of our lives were changing and were changing fast. Paradigms that seemed pragmatic to the fathers became completely redundant when it came to the sons. Even then we lived by rules, though they changed from generation to generation. A rule based way of life was probably so ingrained into us that when old rules seemed absurd we simply looked for new rules which worked today. But I believe that this habit of living a rule based life has come to its evolutionary cul-de-sac.

Our society today is changing so fast that rules are becoming redundant within a couple of years. The change from pagers to mobile phones took less than a 100th of the time it took us to change from landlines to pagers and now the internet is going to change things even faster. This is just an example with technology as the point of reference. Many more things in our social order have become redundant. The rites and rituals of relegion, the hatred of non-conformists and maybe even international boundaries.

Boundaries of all kinds have only brought problems to the people of the world and maybe some day we shall open our minds enough to be able to conceive a world without boundaries. Open mindedness is going to be key to the survival of our race in the days to come and only time will tell if we shall be open minded enough to understand this and save our race or destroy ourselves in ignorance.

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