Reviewing – an art.

The statement – ‘we shall get back to you once we have reviewed’ used to freak me out at one point but I realised through my life in academia that reviews play a critical role in shaping the contents, sharpening the perspectives and in my case, correcting grammar and language.

I call it an ‘institutional impact’ where no reviews put me in dilemma. Whether it’s an amazon purchase or an app purchase or a Facebook page; reviews and ratings make me comfortable. I do understand that biases play a crucial role in these, however, the comfort of it, is something that I can’t deny.

Reviewing purchases are far different from reviewing a journal article because the scales and parameters of liking a product are entirely human than checking for scientific contribution or checking for an impact that a particular drug could potentially have on the masses. However, it can’t be denied that products or purchases or brand reviews drive customers in and out. These reviews are predominantly for the masses by the masses. Thus, like fire, bad words and bad reviews spread far and wide in a shorter span of time than one can ever imagine. Even when the fire is put out, the smoke lingers.

Words just like thoughts, once put out, keep ringing from time to time. Once these words are used to construct statements, regardless of them holding truth or lies, things go beyond mass comprehension. It’s these words that one then identifies the brand with, the products with and more often than not, the individual behind it.

I love the concept of adopting a thick skin and putting blinkers on, to just focus on what you want but when your work faces the masses directly, it should be a mutual responsibility. A responsibility of protecting each other’s dignity and that of nurturing each other, given the finite time and possibilities.

Naming, shaming, provoking and blaming rarely offer any solution. On the contrary, gratitude serves all, in different portions. Our time in this world is finite and with defined destinies to meet; words and thoughts could serve all of us better if we keep it clean.

Remember that muddy water that we used to play in as kids? We never slept in those muddy clothes for the fear of disease. If cleanliness in clothes and body is what we, as humans, seek then why should our thoughts and words be any different than these?

Hence, by all means, do review .. Review your purchases, films that you watch, things that you see, places that you visit .. review everything, share your opinions, provide judgements but do pause to clean.

Best advice.

I have always wondered why everyone jumps in with an opinion on everything on everyone all the time? The standard rule has become to advice. To give advice all the time. At times adding that personal line – ‘I know. Been there, done that.’ Or ‘I exactly know how you must be feeling’. My question is how can I exactly know how anyone feels because they are not me and I am not them as well?

There are always several layers of permutations and combinations that get thrown in for every individual at even exactly same conditions. These differences do nurture dependencies between individuals but to expect them to be exactly identical, so that one can step in to feel for the other, is absolute foolish to say the least.

Hence, the biggest drawback in the sentence – ‘please follow my advice’ are the missing words; ‘choose’ and ‘feel’. ‘If you feel like or choose to, then please follow my advice’ seems like a more contained statement to throw at someone.

I think the lesser importance one attaches to ones own opinions, the lesser urge one has to throw it at someone else because an opinion always queues up first in the line of choice. Perhaps then this unnecessary rise in hatred would reduce because most of the time feelings are able to set themselves right on their own rather than having to force them.

The Image. Dominates?

It should be fine to hold onto your own opinions and rights in presence of opposition and conflict. However, seems that these days people love to be right and correct all the time and their way to deal with conflict is to erase, to ban and block them. Erase, ban and block not the conflict or the opinion but the individual.

My question then is what do you block eventually? Do you block the negatives because of the fear that it could perhaps damage your image? or do you ban the negatives that are not in line with your own hidden agenda of accumulating praises because it can influence the flow of accolades negatively?

It should be all right to be able to defend your position given the negatives that your opinions draws because at the end of the day, opinions are not facts. One single fact can give rise to either a strong positive opinion or a strong negative opinion and can also have no opinion whatsoever. And none of those opinions have any impact on the underlying fact. Hence, where is the need to ban, to erase or to block?

With the rise in the tendency to block, ban and wiping out voices that do not match our own, we are spreading everything but love and are tempting more and more voices to be in line with us. What gives us the right to believe in the fact that even our own voice is not a conditioned one?

This then leads us to believe that each time you block an opposing voice, you are indirectly pushing masses towards the same conditions as you, both in terms of thoughts and actions. In other words, in order to protect the image that you have of you or the image that you would like others to hold of you, you are willing to choose the option of wiping out voices and opinions than addressing them.

Although, this is one of the growing trends in the world that we live in. Wipe out, block and ban rather than address the contradiction with humility and in knowledge. Either way, our own human history tells us that wiping out has never helped humanity in any form or feature; whereas sharing and debating has.

I don’t think we are at a point where we need to be right. We are surely at a point where we need to show more compassion and love the indifference that is thrown at our opinions and at our being because that is the only way we can grow and perhaps even slide away the image masks that we swear at in person but still wear in all seasons.

 

Opinions. Judgements. 

If I am made to sit and judge a beauty pageant, chances of me ruining it are sky high. Even though I am sure I’ll be great with the numbers but my biases will be so strong and untrained that I am bound to misjudge everything. But imagine; if I did take up the offer to be a judge because someone else feels that I am fit for the job, and if I let that someone’s feelings become my mantra, and sit on that chair, I, for sure, will be guided by my vanity and pride.

How many times does this really happen .. That you are commenting, judging and giving random opinions on things that you rarely know anything about?! A LOT. Just because we all, more or less, have an access to a space where we can project anything and everything, doesn’t necessarily mean that we must.

I do agree that all of us are stories and we have all the rights to live our stories and even to share them. But do we really have the rights and are trained enough to comment on every story?! Life, isn’t really a film. Films are etched out of life, for sure and thus everyone having an opinion on them (as in films) is justified. Whereas, on life, itself?! How just is that?! 

Biases never leave us. We can never ever measure them either. We can simulate them. Which means we keep running through loads of possible permutations and combinations of the same model; we all do that inevitably. We run our mini life sustaining models day in and out with just few tweaks here and there .. As a result, what we stand for today, changes tomorrow and then what we believe in today, gets either strengthened in time or we move away.. However, at no given point, do we hold the key to the acute and precise understanding of life, itself. We live it, through it, and in it. 

Given this, we do have cohorts. Cohorts that are knowledgeable, that are intellectual, that think and articulate thoughts well, that question to understand; not to judge. We all hold the rights to these cohorts. We belong to one of these many cohorts based on our experiences, education and exposure in life. Although, not every cohort experience is self enriching but then it’s best to have your knowledge and skills tested by the people who understand your work. The opinion of your cohort on you then becomes your lead into life. You rely on them for your growth, you rely on them for your understanding. And it’s they, whose opinions and judgements should matter. 

These public votes on selecting singers, dancers, models and what not, is utterly ridiculous because half the population doesn’t even know what makes a singer singer. Just because I feel like staring at this beautiful face, I am going to keep voting for the face to stay .. reads ridiculous, I am sure and it’s perhaps what happens constantly. Just because that is a friend, I am going to do this as a favour .. Just because of this and that .. And with loads of just because’s .. We all end up in this space where scratching backs, licking asses .. feels alright. 

I do know that money is important and mimicking set avenues for making money isn’t wrong. But then mimicking them shouldn’t take you away from the basic knowledge that you are mimicking it with probably a different model .. You haven’t created the model. If you did create the model, then you wouldn’t be judging or holding an opinion on it because it’s the use and abuse that generates opinions not the creation per se.  

Oh well ❤️