The story of Hanuman and Valmiki
When Valmiki completed his Ramayana, Narada wasn’t impressed. ‘It is good, but Hanuman’s is better,’ he said.
‘Hanuman has written the Ramayana too?!’ Valmiki didn’t like this at all and wondered whose Ramayana was better. So he set out to find Hanuman.
At Kadali-Vana, grove of plantains, he found Ramayana inscribed on seven broad leaves of a banana tree.
He read it and found it to be perfect. The most exquisite choice of grammar and vocabulary, precise and melodious. He couldn’t help himself and started to cry.
‘Is it so bad?’ asked Hanuman
‘No, it is so good’, said Valmiki.
‘Then why are you crying?’ asked Hanuman.
‘Because after reading your Ramayana, no one will read mine,’ replied Valmiki.
Hearing this Hanuman simply tore up the seven banana leaves stating, ‘Now no one will ever read Hanuman’s Ramayana.’
|THINK AGAIN — ADAM GRANT4/3/20210 Comments Rating: ★★★★½|
Summary: Think Again (Canada/US) explores the power of rethinking in a world where certainty and dogma often spread like wildfire.
Much of the time, we hold onto our deeply cherished beliefs and seek out confirming evidence for them. In the process, we settle on beliefs that may be flawed and rarely, if ever, revisit them.
When we do so, we act in three main roles: as preachers trying defend our beliefs from questioning, as prosecutors attacking the arguments of the opposition, and as politicians using rhetoric to persuade others to our point of view.
However, there is a fourth role that is often neglected: that of a scientist questioning a hypothesis.
I co-created an infographic outlining these four modes of thinking. Check it out :
Question: You seem to advise me to be self-centered to the point of egoism. Must I not yield even to my interest in other people?
Maharaj: Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self-oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or enoble your own image of yourself.
And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape— your family,
tribe, country, race, etc. To be attached to one’s name and
shape is selfishness.
A man who knows that he is neither body
nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for.
Or, you may say, he is equally ‘selfish’ on behalf of everybody
he meets; everybody’s welfare is his own. The feeling ‘I am the
world, the world is myself’ becomes quite natural; once it is established, there is just no way of being selfish.
To be selfish
means to covet, to acquire, accumulate on behalf of the part
against the whole.
I Am That
Q: What are the key modes of thinking that drive our values and beliefs?
[Adam Grant]: Two decades ago, I read a brilliant paper by Phil Tetlock, who introduced me to this idea of thinking like a preacher, a prosecutor or a politician. Once I’d gotten that framework into my head, I couldn’t let it go. I saw it everywhere… I saw it in my own thinking… in other people’s thinking… I saw it in the way we communicate.
The basic idea is that when you’re preaching, you’re trying to proselytise to other people and defend your sacred beliefs. When you’re prosecuting, you’re trying to win an argument which means you’re going to have to prove the other side wrong. My big worry is when we’re locked into a preacher or prosecutor mindset, we’re not willing to question our own assumptions and opinions… if I’m right, and you’re wrong, then I get to stand still, and you are the one who needs to change. In politicianmode, things are a little more flexible. In that mode, I’m trying to win the approval of an audience – and that means I’m going to lobby or campaign. I might say things you want to hear, but I might not be actually changing what I really think or- if I do- I might be doing it to appease my tribe rather than to find the truth.Continue reading
“So please understand from the start, when I’m talking to you, I’m not trying to convert you. I’m not trying to do you any good. I’m just doing my own stuff. I talk this way like birds sing. It amuses me. I enjoy it because I’m interested. I’m full of wonder about this universe. Full of all sorts of thoughts about it and I like to share these with people not in order to interfere with your personal lives or make you dependent on me, heaven forbid. If I had enough people dependent on me I would have no sleep at nights at all, it would be on the phone, be hanging around as I go away. But simply that I think that with our exchange of ideas and rubbing ourselves against each other we may find something of mutual interest. And let’s not make any more ambitious claim for it than that. Because anything beyond that would be getting us into the world of power games. Trying to influence people, trying to control people and I’m not interested in that.”
Alan Watts, ‘Worldly Religions’