Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Le Guard-ian of the World's Coffers

Finally a woman ruling the IMF!! Why is the distribution of economists so skewed in favour of males? I cannot conceive of a rational explanation. I believe Orrell had something to say about it in EconoMyths but I can't quite recall what it was just now.In absolute contradiction to global trends though, my department is dominated by females (9 out of 50 in my class are male!) How many of us will veer towards academics,though? The probability that any given student from my class who pursues econ, is female, is ofcourse higher...but statistical forecasts are known to have been terribly wrong in the past.Ah well...Time will tell.

Good Profile of George Akerlof from F&D

Monday, June 27, 2011


Finally words for feeling..

Rhea sent me the link to this site via Stumble Upon. Here are some..emotions that 'complex people feel', to quote Ishika...essentially, idiots like me who have no idea what they're feeling, for most part. Read some of my old and new posts- you'll know that I've been feeling precisely these things, in differing degrees, for ages.

1. Dysphoria (the currently dominant state of mind)

 Often used to describe depression in psychological disorders, dysphoria is general state of sadness that includes restlessness, lack of energy, anxiety, and vague irritation. It is the opposite of euphoria, and is different from typical sadness because it often includes a kind of jumpiness and some anger. You have probably experienced it when coming down from a stimulant like chocolate, coffee, or something stronger. Or you may have felt it in response to a distressing situation, extreme boredom, or depression.

2. Enthrallment (read 'Sunday morning' or 'What you Will')

Psychology professor W. Gerrod Parrott has broken down human emotions into subcategories, which themselves have their own subcategories. Most of the emotions he identifies, like joy and anger, are pretty recognizable. But one subset of joy, "enthrallment," you may not have heard of before. Unlike the perkier subcategories of joy like cheerfulness, zest, and relief, enthrallment is a state of intense rapture. It is not the same as love or lust. You might experience it when you see an incredible spectacle — a concert, a movie, a rocket taking off — that captures all your attention and elevates your mood to tremendous heights.

3. Normopathy ('Conformism is the new rebellion'-a reference you won't get without a long,protracted explanation. Don't take this particular emo by the letter while reading me) 

Psychiatric theorist Christopher Bollas invented the idea of normopathy to describe people who are so focused on blending in and conforming to social norms that it becomes a kind of mania. A person who is normotic is often unhealthily fixated on having no personality at all, and only doing exactly what is expected by society. Extreme normopathy is punctuated by breaks from the norm, where normotic person cracks under the pressure of conforming and becomes violent or does something very dangerous. Many people experience mild normopathy at different times in their lives, especially when trying to fit into a new social situation, or when trying to hide behaviors they believe other people would condemn.

4. Sublimation

If you've ever taken a class where you learned about Sigmund Freud's theories about sex, you probably have heard of sublimation. Freud believed that human emotions were sort of like a steam engine, and sexual desire was the steam. If you blocked the steam from coming out of one valve, pressure would build up and force it out of another. Sublimation is the process of redirecting your steamy desires from having naughty sex, to doing something socially productive like writing an article about psychology or fixing the lawnmower or developing a software program. If you've ever gotten your frustrations out by building something, or gotten a weirdly intense pleasure from creating an art project, you're sublimating. Other psychiatrists have refined the idea of sublimation, however. Following French theorist Jacques Lacan, they say that sublimation doesn't have to mean converting sexual desire into another activity like building house. It could just mean transferring sexual desire from one object to another — moving your affections from your boyfriend to your neighbor, for example.

5. Repressive desublimation (unfortunately this one's more interesting, than personal)

Political theorist Herbert Marcuse was a big fan of Freud and lived through the social upheavals of the 1960s. He wanted to explain how societies could go through periods of social liberation, like the countercultures and revolutions of the mid-twentieth century, and yet still remain under the (often strict) control of governments and corporations. How could the U.S. have gone through all those protests in the 60s but never actually overthrown the government? The answer, he decided, was a peculiar emotional state known as "repressive desublimation." Remember, Freud said sublimation is when you route your sexual energies into something non-sexual. But Marcuse lived during a time when people were very much routing their sexual energies into sex — it was the sexual liberation era, when free love reigned. People were desublimating. And yet they continued to be repressed by many other social strictures, coming from corporate life, the military, and the government. Marcuse suggested that desublimation can actually help to solidify repression. It acts as an escape valve for our desires so that we don't attempt to liberate ourselves from other social restrictions. A good example of repressive desublimation is the intense partying that takes place in college. Often, people in college do a lot of drinking, drugging and hooking up — while at the same time studying very hard and trying to get ready for jobs. Instead of questioning why we have to pay tons of money to engage in rote learning and get corporate jobs, we just obey the rules and have crazy drunken sex every weekend. Repressive desublimation!

6. Aporia (This has to do with one painful epiphany-and no I shan't tell-I'm sure you've had one yourself)

You know that feeling of crazy emptiness you get when you realize that something you believed isn't actually true? And then things feel even more weird when you realize that actually, the thing you believed might be true and might not — and you'll never really know? That's aporia. The term comes from ancient Greek, but is also beloved of post-structuralist theorists like Jacques Derrida and Gayatri Spivak. The reason modern theorists love the idea of aporia is that it helps to describe the feeling people have in a world of information overload, where you are often bombarded with contradictory messages that seem equally true.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunday Morning

The veins in my head are threatening to pop. A consequence of unsound sleep patterns, but ofcourse-engineered only from my desire to watch every single video on youtube or something of that nature..

Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there’s a breeze
There’s a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

I'm really annoyed with my driving instructor. Makes me wake up early every morn only to be a zillion nanoseconds late. And its not even a predicatble lag, such that adaptive expectations could come into play. Gna gna gna...

Don’t make frowns, you silly clown...

Ram called. The other Ram. It seemed like a godsend amidst my low patch wrt the drums. Maybe things will take a turn for the better on that front. It's crash boom time again, baby. Woot woot!!

Just come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there’s a breeze
There’s a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
And the waves are just a frothier version of the skies

It's interesting...funny even...how one phone call and a good song can uplift my mood.

I’ve got a perfect body, though sometimes I forget
I’ve got a perfect body cause my eyelashes catch my sweat
Yes, they do, they do…

As for the above mentioned perfect body-its there somewhere, amidst layers of adipose ;) To the treadmills I now depart. Toodle Dee. Have a good holy day, all.


Friday, June 24, 2011

What you Will...

Hell it's impossible to keep to the 'must write everyday' resolution. I lack discipline, I do. Possible some imagination too. The past few days however, have most certainly been lacking in immunity on my part. The Rhine, it flows noisily (Rhine-Rhino-nose)..my rooommate once asked me if I was done moving furniture :P. Trust me, you want to stay away.But things have taken a turn towards healthy today...mind you, not 'halthy' (punjabi eshtyle) cause I'm working out again. God knows how I'll keep it up in college-one look at the 'flop master' and lethargy creeps into me bones again. Okay, maybe it isn't entirely her fault.

Regina Spektor is bloody good by the by...and refreshingly original at that. Will attach 'Ghost of a Corporate Future' with this post. The title does haunt me-I do find myself increasingly at sea about career paths as I grow older. In the fourth grade, for instance, it was definite that I was to be the President of the World Bank!! By the seventh, I was to be a robotic scientist manufacturing revolutions at NASA. 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity' was all I needed ;) And ofcourse I'd study at MIT. And 7 years down the line I still want to go to MIT-only the social sciences division,if you please. Well atleast the immediate progression from Stephen's is not entirely unclear-I should count my blessings,eh?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OdJkb3IiAA (Regina Spektor link)
While I was shirking in the past few days I omitted to recount my trip to NCPA. Ma,Baba and I (and boy was Baba grouchy at the outset of the journey-"tickets are too expensive"/"train's too crowded" yada yada yada)...Lady luck was awfully kind to me that Sunday noon-no rain, and a functional harbour line-what more could one ask for in the Navi Mumbai monsoon! So..after the usual and somewhat eventful train ride (read: burqa clad lady picks a fight with typically marathi lady..and there were chappals and abuses to boot)..we reached the seaside...it's beautiful, this time of year. So alive to the millions that come to soak in its splendor.

Danny Boyle's direction of Mary Shelly's 'Frankenstein' was screened live from the National Theatre in London at NCPA's Godrej Dance Theatre (it's a small but comfy audi). Boyle's return to theatre was looked forward to by most theatre-loving Londoners (or whatever they're called)...and boy was it worth the wait, anticipation, and queues at  2 am! (I got the tickets online :P) The production starred Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch-the two actors switched roles every night. One day one was the creator, and the next-the created. I think thats a delightful idea for any actor to grasp the roles truly. We were lucky (although both versions are considered equally good by critics)-Cumberbatch was the creature at our show. I confess I know not much about the stage and acting..and so forth. But whatever it was that they pulled off that Sunday evening-bordered on perfection. There's no denying it. To give you a tiny glimpse- the beginning showed Frankenstein's monster's birth followed by it's learning processes. How it learnt to move every limb and sinew. How it learnt to stand, to eat grass...to speak..and later read thanks to his only friend-an old blind man. Now think of how one can possibly manage to convey all that..without narration...in about fifteen to twenty minutes, without, for a second, boring one's audience. It was brilliant, I tell you. You'll just have to take my word for it because it's beyond my linguistic/narrative skills to communicate even a fraction of what I saw and felt that day. Baba, who was quite the theatre-goer in his bachelor days, was astounded. Ma, equally so. They said that they'd never seen anything like it (Phew! Can you conceive of what would have come to pass had he disliked the production?!! It's not as bad as all that really, but, like Phoebe, I don't appreciate negative vibes). We followed this up with a walk down a rather crowded Marine Drive and RustomJi's ice-cream: it's essentially a cuboid of ice-cream sandwiched between two wafer biscuits..you should try it sometime. Heck, you should watch a broadcast of the play if you ever chance upon it! Boyle should stick to theatre. Really.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thinking about Thinking.

Sometimes I accidentally do the smarter thing (and at other rarer times, it isn't accidental)- I'm so glad I signed up for the new format of the GRE. Just the names of the sections 'Verbal Reasoning' as opposed to the older Verbal something is enough to indicate that I don't have to learn long lists of otherwise irrelevant vocab. This stuff is quite cool, in a sort of way. It requires critical thinking ('thinking about thinking')...and now I regret only concentrating on Mr.Cole's gigantic Homer Simpson pants pinned on the softboard, and the plate-full of Maltesers in his critical thinking classes at Millfield (brief exchange programme- I use the slightest opportunity to show off).

Checked out the neighbourhood gym today. Needless to state that the instructor took one look at me and figured out that I lead a most unhealthy lifestyle. And here I thought that Rohtas' samosas were awfully nutritious!

Finally attacked the book on dev econ. It's amazing how all later research points to instiutional reform for development. Amidst cries in national politics over the Lokpal Bill, 2G scams and such like-I'm coming to believe that specialzing in institutions/ instiutional economics may be a productive move to make. At any rate, I think I'll spruce up my institutions project for the M.Phil applications. This applications/scholarships business is already beginning to drive me nuts: just how am I going to make it through the entire year??

Tomorrow, I'm praying my driving lessons begin. Might enroll at the gym and attempt to make either paalak paneer or lemon cake (inclusive 'or'). Ooh lunar eclipse! I shall bid yea adieu for now to go check eet out, if the rain clouds permit. Oh and here's a link for a movie I watched over yesterday and today (long story, and no I don't mean the movie). It's good fun-an Amole Gupta production.

The Summer-whatever little there is of it.

Let not the title of this post fool you into believing that the length of the 'summer' commented on therein has anything to do with the weather-it's the duration of our break I'm cribbing about. A month and a half is just about all that second econ managed to scrape, given the stretched duration of the darned univs.

Anyhow, I've decided that I'm going to document the happenings of my unemployed life this break (for the sake of clarification, the decision to not intern was not entirely shaped by the one..or.two..or three rejection letters I received. Everything worthwhile requires time..or a postgrad!) So yes, where were we? Documentation. Now the purpose behind such a move has nothing whatsoever, pardon me dear reader, to do with you. It's purely out of selfish motives- it'll help me stay active. The knowledge that everyday must have something to say for itself should keep things interesting around here... or so one hopes. There's always the danger that the average post will run something on the lines of- brushed me teeth, attempted to count the pimples on my face but gave up midway, ate A lot while all the time miraculously hoping that pounds were being shed...and so on.

Do not be deceived into believing that 'interesting' shall be anything on the lines of conventional living it up. This is Navi Mumbai. And, more importantly, this is me. So there. We shall correspond again at the end of the day-electricity and internet connection,permitting. Cheerio for the mo.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Def Col.

The curtains, they do cover for
Enthusiasm, self worth: the lack thereof.
Call it what you will..
But oh they do sway..
Meatloaf belly-full..
Happy, illogically so,
Shirks the ton of..work.
In favor of litchi,
With vanilla glazed..
In sloth we do persevere,