Monday, January 11, 2010

take five

One of the things I do at work is troubleshoot equipment failure.

In layman terms, what it means is that I lead a team like Dr. House does, only except of trying to figure out what is wrong with a person, I try to figure out what is wrong with a particular industrial equipment.

Sometimes, like yesterday, when we are banging our heads against a brick wall trying to figure out what is wrong with a machine, when all possibilities seem exhausted, I tell my guys to take five, stop banging our heads against the immovable brick wall, go back to the drawing board and define the problem.

Usually, we find that the problem cannot be solved because, more often than not, the problem wasn't well defined in the first place. How can you solve a problem when you were too distracted by the symptoms to even identify the problem in the first place?

Think about it.

The problem is not the arson. The problem isn't the government (although certainly the incompetence of certain people are not helping). The problem isn't the word in the first place.

The problem is the inability to understand the other person's culture, the reluctance to walk a mile in his shoes, and the downright refusal to accept that maybe, just maybe the other guy doesn't care that you think you are in the right because he thinks he is in the right too.

The younger Christians are saying that they have been using it forever and ever and the historical facts back it up. They can even quote passages in the Holy Book telling people why the term is technically correct. And they have the High Court saying they can. They are saying that you can't copyright a word. That is why, they say, they are correct and have every right to use the word.

The traditionalist Muslims can't understand why people would wanna upset this whole equilibrium thing that they had going. They can't understand why these people want to use a word that all their lives they have known to describe their God. "Isn't your God called something else? Why can't you use the other word for Him?" All their lives they were brought up thinking what they know is true, and now some people are telling them something else totally whacked up...NO WAY!! They feel suspicious that other fellas are taking what is theirs.

Do you see the problem here?

Everybody has been discussing who is in the right and who is in the wrong. And everybody thinks they are right. Personally, I don't care who is. Yes, you can argue you technicalities on both sides, and yes, you can win any argument you like. You can win your debates, win your court cases (or lose the subsequent appeal) but still the problem remains, both parties feel that they are in the right.

I mean, I am sure you face this in my aspects of your every day life. You present an argument in a sound and logical manner (or so you think) and your boss shoots it down. In matters such as this, more often than not, once people have ingrained in them that they are right, nothing is going to change their mind.

If I was saying this to a different audience, I would put this argument in a different manner for which they would understand my message. But because I know this blog is read primarily by young middle to upper class urbanites, most of whom support the usage of the word by the Christians, I will say this:

You cannot understand why these "uneducated" (quote unquote from many of my friends) people find it so hard to accept that you are correct, that they can't copyright a word, that you are backed by historical 'facts' - that is the same way they feel about you. The fact that you feel that anyone who disagrees with you is either uneducated, ignorant or worse, a fundamentalist

So, just for one second. Stop and think about putting yourself in the other guy's shoes.

What is the solution I propose?

Frankly, I have nothing concrete. We can promote discussions and education but it all takes time. Time that a lot of us fear that we do not have. There is a time bomb is ticking today. We need a quick fix solution while we work on the discussion and re-education which will take years, if not generations.

Again, I have no clear solutions. But I am presenting the real definition of the problem, in the HOPE that the people smarter than me, the people who were entrusted by the democratic system to make things right actually do come up with something.

And perhaps, if you realise the actual problem that we are facing, that you can take steps to correct it at your level - talking to more friends, convincing people to open up their minds and look at both sides of the coin.

At this point in time, even the simplest of things can help.

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i'm just sorry things have gotten as far as they have.

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