Jun 5, 2009

Go on - surprise me

The entire basis of Miss Marple's detective-ity was that she had seen it all before. So one wonders: is the ability to be surprised one of the first casualties of age?

In many cases, higher salaries tied to 'experience' are essentially paid out because your employee has a higher likelihood of having seen 'it' before than the green salad you hired last month. If life was highly random, this might not work. But established industries work on continuously reducing (if not eliminating) surprises, so the whole basis of certain 'career ladders' is based on the promise of तजुर्बा. In comparison, kids constantly meet new things, until someday, where this plateaus out and the 'surprise' value of events diminishes. Which is perhaps why creative thinking methods try to force surprise on people, through constraints or unexpected situations or trying to map analogies - to push you into unseen mental paths rather than the well-trodden path with enough engine oil on it.

So would a service that injected controlled amounts of surprise into your life be useful to you? Not of The Game proportions, but little things that you had never experienced before or never thought you would see, forcing you to do a double take once in a while? Calibrated, not fully random amounts.

Of course, an alternative argument could be that the older you get the more the intensity of the surprise, because 'I thought I had seen it all, but there you go'.


Anitha said...

I suppose as we grow older we begin to 'reason' more and hence try to force-fit almost everything we come across into the realms of what we already know...

Btw ... Were you at COEP? I was a year junior to you, but was in COEP only for a year, and then moved out .. Krishnan's the last name..

I have a feeling of deja vu ... Looks like I got in touch with you recently elsewhere on the web. Can't recall when or where... Orkut, perhaps? :)

Blogrolling you ... 7 years of blogging is astounding! :)

daemon said...

Yes, quite correct. In fact, nowadays I keep wondering what, in all possibility, I do better than a good not-so-fresh-relatively-out-of-collegian. And I have interacted with couple during the course of work recently. This naturally leads to the conclusion that one needs to constantly keep innovating, even if in supposedly mundane office work. Got to take some extra credits :-(

Shriniwas said...

Isnt this service for calibrated doses of surprises called marriage?

Ramanand said...

Anitha: yes, am from COEP - I do remember you, you were in Shraddha M & Anup M's class. It must have been orkut, but a few years ago!

D: Extra credits, certainly.

S: I'll leave that to the experts!

Hirak said...

Generally, it is observed that the capacity to learn diminishes with age. The important question is that do people not feel the need to build on what they know, or does the 'hardware' actually fail, or and cannot rewire that easily once you get older.

In daily life and jobs that people do: apart from the occasional surprising event, everything is pretty much the same 99% of the time, causing a decreased incentive to learn something new.

The human brain is remarkably adaptive, and I have seen many instances of people who keep this curiosity and love learning alive.

I am pretty certain that if experience professionals had to give tests or exams every 10 years or so, we would see less of old-fogeyism