Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Time Travel, 10 years back...

For reasons more than one, I have somehow been nostalgic about the times like 10 years back, the times in high school, the times of ripe teenage! Those were probably the most rosy times of life - just around the time when you begin to think of something called "life" and what it could mean to you, in the coming years. And I am sure most of us have very pretty pictures of life then!

The point of this blog is not to say that life actually, in the current times, is horrible. Neither I am making it a point that I have seen enough of "life" to make such a statement. Rather I was just analyzing how the perception, priorities and meaning of life has changed to me, over the span of past 10 years! It's just amazing...

Back in the "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" days, I used to dwell in an extremely emotional world. If not love at first sight, I used to believe that one day I would meet that Mr. Right and fall in love and there would be no looking back! I used to think that there would be a cute house in a calm neighborhood, with lots of flowers and trees, and we would live there happily everafter. And I also used to think that I would be doing that ultimate best job in the world and have all the comfort and pleasure of the world.

June 28, 2009 is today - a day when I know that emotions are a heavy cost to pay in the end. It's today when I have known over so many years and so many incidents that things don't just fall in place; they need to be worked out. And there's nothing as live happily ever after, life has its sinosoidal nature. And having the best job is never served to you in a platter, you have to struggle, work hard and persevere for it.

Well I don't mean to say that life means something terrible to me now. Rather I would say I know quite a bit of life now. And the definitions of different things like emotions, love, job, career, happiness, success etc have radically changed - for the better! Success to me today is not a mere "good job" which can get me that cosy home in the countryside, but to do something meaningful in life. Something that can leave a mark in the world; something which would remain worthwhile for a long time to come. And I am ready to pay severe costs for that meaning that has evolved over me in these past few years. Because, even happiness means something totally different today! It means deeply caring for certain things in life, even if it means giving up several of the pleasures :)

One of my friends recently told me that I should be fit enough for a cross-country running. I told him, there are probably a lot of other things too which I should be fit enough to be doing today! However it's all about the choices we make in our lives. If I am not fit for certain things in life, it is because of certain other things that I care for - things in which I strive to succeed. And that's what conjures up my happiness, pleasure, emotions, career and life at large today...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feedback Systems: Life and a Lot More!

Since a little while, I have been catching up quite a bit on ideas from other related disciplines - like the areas which do not necessarily deal with generally networks, or specifically social networks. I won't consider myself a "pro-network researcher"; a distinction that I have begun to realize this summer. Nevertheless I wouldn't consider myself as one of those guys who does social networks to leverage another complex problem, like information retrieval or classification or media summarization. My problems are very grounded; and I would like to keep it that way.

Anyhow, talking about where in the research chart I would put myself, needs an altogether separate blog post - something which I am not planning to accomplish today; at least that's not what I started out writing on! I am going to talk about an obscure connection - the connection of feedback systems to life, in specific instances, as well as in general.

As they say, to err is human (and I am intentionally leaving out the "divine" part of it, for reasons that you might already know from my previous posts!). And I have this entire blog post which I wrote on this pessimistic truth that abounds our lives. But I am going to talk of a very optimistic look-out to the entire thing today; and this connects itself to the ideas of feedback systems that I have been reading for a while.

Can you recall when was the last time you made a "mistake" in life? No, I am not talking about the mathematical, algorithmic or whatsoever mistakes - I am talking about the actions that we do - the times when you stop being a level-headed guy and do something which doesn't reflect your own self. The errors we make in our lives all the time; sometimes of choices, sometimes of people, sometimes of our goals or sometimes of our work, and the list can go on ...

What happens then? Maybe sometimes we feel terrible, we rebound. Or sometimes we just leave those mistakes there - let it be. Or sometimes we set out to make it a point not to repeat it again. Exactly like how a feedback system would work - it takes the output from an event, and refines the input to optimize some loss function - until the error is infinitesimally negligible or theoretically zero.

We all love perfection in our lives. That's why we set out to rectify those mistakes in the future; like a feedback system. And that's the spirit of life I believe! Because life is not about being perfect; but striving to be perfect, in exactly the same manner a simple feedback system would work!

Did you tune your feedback system yet? I am trying to tune mine :)