Hello Seekers / Anand Gandhi

Article Author: Anand Gandhi Created: November 29, 2021 7:50 AM Property: Pending Updated: December 27, 2021 10:30 PM

Hello seekers of the class of 2020 The answers are out there and they will find you. Your greatest gift is foresight. The fuel of foresight is hindsight. So study everything that led up to you. Not just social history, but also the evolution of life and human behaviour. The big history of the universe itself.

For the more you understand the past, the better you will course the future. The smartphone you are hoping to buy costs two generations of labour in most parts of the world. On the other hand, knowledge is free and it’s yours to inherit. You may want a smartphone to claim this inheritance, but when you earn one, remember what it is for and how fortunate you are to have one. So share what you learn.

Do not shy away from labour physical or intellectual- for it’s the chisel to sculpt your character. It’s as much hard work to climb to a place of clarity as it is to scale Mount Everest. But when you stand on the shoulders of giants, you can see far. Einstein may have been smarter than you but you have one huge benefit over him. You can learn special and general relativity by the time you are 25. The same goes for Darwin, Zaha Hadid, Lynn Margulis, Mohandas, Bhimrao, Savitribai. You You can be a version upgrade.

Learn to code. Your elders discovered gravity and the speed of light They invented the penicillin, engineered flight and the internet. But your elders also fought mindless wars and committed hate crimes. So let great ideas come to you from all directions, but filter out the ones that will diminish humanity. Especially the ones that will diminish your humanity.

Learn what is right and wrong, because yes, there’s such a thing. Values are not arbitrary They are reverse-engineered from the future you seek to build. Humans have multiplied on the planet and rose to a position of tremendous power. And with great power, comes… I am here to introduce you to Patwardhan and Monty Python… I trust you know your Spiderman well.

You are in a constant dialogue with the environment. But for dialogue to work, both parties need to understand each other. Learn to speak “Earth.” Learn the cadence of the atom and the grammar of the genome. Nature is not always right either While nature is beautiful and generous, it’s also replete with murder and coercion. With the exception of photosynthesising and chemosynthesising creatures, most live by killing someone every day.

The aspiration of human civilisation has been to build a non-predatory future - rights to life, opportunity and wellness for a maximum number of living beings. And you are the newest engineer of this millennia-old project.

Many great people have struggled and died for your rights. Never give them up. Never abandon your fundamental right to live, learn, express, and explore. But remember your right to swing your arm leaves off where someone else’s right not to have their nose struck begins. And most negotiations of life are around imagined borders between arms and noses.

That is why you need science. To determine with certainty. To not only measure, but also to comprehend. Science is not only the study of cogs and wheels and gears, but it is also the study of clouds - markets, consciousness and love. Yes science understands compassion. You may be compassionate and charitable, but end up working for an institution that writes off the death of thousands as collateral damage. So be empathetic, but even more importantly, work towards building empathetic systems.

Stop at the red light at 2 AM on an empty road. Be fair always especially when nobody’s watching. But if new evidence proves that stopping at red lights on empty roads burns more fuel and hence, harms the planet– then work towards replacing the rule with something more reasonable.

Question oppressive laws and practices everywhere, no matter who is enforcing them- your family or your state. Make your life about more than yourself and your family. Expand the horizon of your self to include not only your kin and kindred minds, but also those who are not like you. Especially those who are not like you.

Meaning has accumulated over billions of years - it talks to you through everything that lives. You may still need to invent yours. Equip yourself with tools of thought - words, images and concepts. Read the Wikipedia every day Use Google Scholar to search. More importantly Read the dictionary. Words are records of beliefs and lived histories They are arranged in order to make meanings, medicines and weapons. Read the meanings of words “white” and “black” and see if they can be interchanged.

Organise your ideas in neat categories and boxes but do not start living in them. Life emerges from a continuum of chaos and order transience and permanence. Paradoxes are an invitation for synthesis. So play! Connect dots, solve jigsaws draw doodles. Don’t worry about unemployment. A new world is being built. Learn skills. Equip yourself with ideas and abilities. Apply yourself to problems all around you. Every problem is your employment. Above all, remember that truth is attainable and truth is useful.