09 November, 2012

The Algebra of Life .....

(Picture courtesy : zazzle.com via Google)

The more I see of it, the more I am convinced of one thing – life, as we humans know it – is nothing but a bunch of complex equations.  This analogy, coming from a person like me, who hates, absolutely hates Maths with a passion.  I hate Maths so much that I’m seriously thinking of equating life to a chemical equation.  Now those – I used to love, during my school days ?  Chemistry was a subject (still is, for that matter) that I enjoyed unlike the mundane (you are welcome to disagree) Maths which never failed to do my head in, each and every time it came into contact with it. 
Macadamia has, over the past two years, at school, been introduced to the wonder that is Algebra.  Last year, after her first few trysts with the subject, she was seen remarking with what seemed like a rather profound opinion to the effect that she hated the subject.  My belief in genetics had just been cemented.  Yes – genes do indeed pass on was what my mind said to me, fortified by the fact that Macadamia seemed to hate Algebra with more of a passion than I ever had.
Over a period of time, algebraic expressions started to float in – equations, constants, variables, operations, functions, exponents and what have you.  Enough said.  I don’t like to talk about Maths much and that is pretty much the reference and reverence I’m willing to give to the subject in this context. 
These algebraic terms, however, did set me thinking.  Thinking, not of all those silly mistakes I’d committed in my Maths papers at school but rather of this giant canvass that we call life.  All said and done, once born on this planet we know as Earth, we automatically start to fill in the hitherto empty canvass that we come with.  Sometimes there are lines in the canvass, sometimes arcs, sometimes just random wriggles and haphazard strokes.  Some of the lines and curves are systematic and planned while many others are accidental and unintentional.  Life goes on, the canvass begins to fill, pretty much without us realizing the colourful panorama that we are in the process of creating.   
Come to think of it – what is it that we do, most of the time ?  We are constantly in search of, constantly trying to balance this equation called life.  We go through the usual motions of life, we eat, we sleep, we study, we read, we write, we cook, we clean et c etc but through it all what comes to the foreground is the fact that we are forever in an attempt to find stability, poise and equilibrium.  Steadiness is something the human mind seems to have an affinity for.  It takes comfort in stability.  It luxuriates in the cosiness that comes along with constancy and permanence. 
Then there are the variables.  Like the saying goes, the only constant in life is change.  Little changes, big changes – changes, nevertheless.  As we go through this sojourn on Earth, through our daily motions of painting on the aforesaid canvass, we are constantly evaluating changes, we constantly face changes.  Pretty much like equations in Algebra, some variables help us find solutions and maintain that sense of balance whereas there are other variables that do nothing but confuse us  and throw that routine and sense of steadiness out of gear.  We have our “constants” in life just as we have more than our share of “variables”.    
Good experiences are added to this vast canvass of our mind, bad experiences are subtracted.  We multiply our resources in an attempt to divide our daily pressures into manageable bits and pieces.  Through it all, we continue to paint a rich tapestry of our emotions and feelings, achievements and disappointments, happy moments and the not-so-happy ones.  Life is nothing but a constant equation in progress. 
As the world progressed, as newer inventions came to the fore as people got busier, equations have definitely changed.  They are not the same they used to be, say twenty years back and looking ahead, they will not be the same twenty years from now.  In that sense, life and the way we deal with it, are nothing but variables.  Technology has changed our way of life, has changed the way we deal with situations and if I may use an Algebraic expression “ it has changed the way we try to and eventually succeed in balancing equations and finding solutions”. 
As newer generations come into the picture, certain things that us, the now “older generation” took for granted and grew up with, are being shed with impunity.  Values are being grossly subtracted as also morals and scruples.  The exponential theory applies too.  These values are now being shed at an exponential rate or rather, algebraically speaking, raised to the power ‘n’.  The field of electronics and robotics has taken giant leaps forward and it is still a matter of debate as to whether they have made life easier or more complicated.  Twenty five years back, we survived just fine without smart phones and touch screens.  Having a television at home or a telephone that worked, was considered a wonder.  Now we have a whole plethora of devices that have made multitasking a norm rather than an anomaly.  Ask the generation of today and they would simply say that life as they know now is a rational expression while the life people lived twenty five years back is a perfect example of an irrational expression J.
Each one of us diligently continues to paint our very own canvass, we do stop to borrow or lend a couple of colours along the way, occasionally yet, somehow, the palette always remains full with more colours to use, resulting in more derivatives.  We continue to swim amidst the sea of constants and variables, equations and balances, calculations and comparisons.  The space that remains on the canvass begs to be filled and paint brush and palette in hand,  if I may borrow yet another algebraic expression, we continue to revel in and relish the little and the big ABC’s of life. 

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