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I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been I = M - S Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what ...

12/30/14

To understand our selves we must explore our selves. As a performance artist I use performance lectures and performance workshops to engage people in self-explorations and sharing. The following are further excerpts from my trip to Brazil 2014. 

Exploring with four arms

Modern-day chess derives from the Persian game chatrang which itself derives from the Sanskrit chaturanga, which means four-armed. My father's Parsi ancestors came from old Persia and I imagine that they played the game of chatrang in their free time. 

My mother's ancestors were Brahmins from the Konkan coast, spoke Sanskrit and in the long monsoon season when villages like their's facing the Arabian Sea turn into little islands to this day, it is not hard to imagine the children and grownups sitting around the ancient chessboard playing chaturanga

I am told that this ancient game in accord with its name was once four-armed and it seems to me that in the journey it took from the coast of Konkan to Persia and the Arab world and on to Europe, it lost half its dimensionality. It went from being four-armed to being a game played only by two. 

And yet there remain four sides to the game board that are almost identical reminding us that once there were four back and front movements and that once moving to the side also meant moving to the back and the front and the other side depending on whose perspective the move was seen from. 

Exercise: Brazil 2014 performance workshops

Imagine that you have four arms. Using your real and imaginary arms start miming things that you do every day and how you would do them now that you have four arms. Try to do many different everyday tasks one after another. Remember the task that was most memorable: the most fun to do, the hardest, the weirdest, the coolest, whatever! (TASK) 

Now as you do your tasks notice that you've been making up and using imaginary objects that you needed to do your tasks. Pay attention to these imaginary objects as you do your everyday tasks and ask yourself these questions: 

1. How many objects do you use for each task? Perhaps you use only one, but perhaps more since you do have four arms!
2. How would you describe the objects?
3. How much does each object weigh?
4. What colors are they?
5. What textures do they have?
6. What are their volumes?
7. Are they new or old? Or are some new and some old?
8. Do you like them? Or do you like some of them and not the others? Which ones?
9. Find something odd about each object. Can you let their oddness grow?
10. How have the objects changed?

Remember the object and its attributes that you found most memorable. (OBJECT)

Now using your four arms start miming fantastic tasks that you can't actually do in your everyday life but that using your imagination and play acting you can now do in this performance space. Do many different fantastic tasks one after another. Remember the fantastic task that was most memorable to you. (FANTASTIC TASK)

Now as you do the fantastic tasks pay attention to the imaginary fantastic objects that you've been using and ask yourself the questions above. Remember the fantastic object and its attributes that you found most memorable. (FANTASTIC OBJECT)

Using the four elements, Task, Object, Fantastic Task and Fantastic Object create a silent one-minute performance. 

May the pulse be with you!

Abhay
I was in Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza, Brazil this year and I include below a short excerpt of an economics and performance lecture and workshop entitled Theory and Practice. The idea was to explore who each of us is before we start theorizing about what drives us. 

Abhay

Small performances in everyday life.

Your life is a performance space. Every day every moment you have the opportunity to perform. These small performances of the moment constitute what you call your life.

If you improvise in every moment you call upon a great power of the universe that understands and is in harmony with your intention. Then you sing. Your life sings in each moment.

Your small performances of daily life develop a sacred quality of magical improvisation. Your small performances speak to you. Speak to others. Give you the will to live. They power you.

And that's when you start living. 

Exercise: Brazil 2014 performance workshops

Who are you? Answer this question in 2 pages of hand-written free-writing where you start writing and then don't stop until you have filled 2 blank pages with your answer. Don't worry about spelling, or grammar, or punctuation. In fact don't worry about anything, just write. Stop when you have 2 pages written down. 

Reflect briefly on your writing. Now underline 3 sentences that stand out for you. There is no right and wrong. You are simply exploring your self. Finally, pick a total of 3 words from the 3 sentences and circle them. 

Now pick an object, any object that you are drawn to. Using your object in any way you like you will share your 3 words with the group, one at a time in the form of an improvised 1 minute performance. 

Reflect on the experience. 

May the pulse be with you!

Abhay

12/29/14

When we see that society is crumbling, falling apart we try to fix society. Have you noticed that does not work? We can not reform society or reformulate it. It can not be done.

Gandhiji pointed out that society is not the same as the masses. The masses are simply a collection of individuals. We can reform, reformulate the masses but such change is not lasting. Social reformers have come and gone through the ages and yet suffering, violence, destruction have not lessened. They have increased.

Society comes out of relationship. It is what is created when there is relationship. Unless each individual is whole he or she can not be engaged in meaningful relationship. Split individuals create split relationships and so society itself, which is nothing other than relationship, is non-existent since there is nothing like a split society. 

We do not have, at present, a society. We only have masses, big and small. A small mass controls all the resources and the large mass suffers passively and tries to get by by consuming consuming consuming all the time. The small mass gets richer while the large mass gets poorer. 

But there is no relationship. So there is no society. This is the crisis of our time and its nature is economic since it is how we live and work that creates split individuals. 

So the solution has to be economic. We need a new economics that can create wholeness in the individual so that individuals may have whole relationships. Then we will have what may truly be called a society. There will be no violence, no suffering, no price to pay at all. 

This can happen. In our lifetime. 

12/28/14

Who am I? Do I really know the answer? Is it possible to know the answer?

Who I am has to be discovered. Only I can do it. And it takes time. In a sense it is a moving target because I can never exhaust my understanding of who I am. 

As a part of the infinite, of universal love, of God if you will, I am infinite. Over time, with intention and effort I can understand more and more of who I am. Even though I can never come to an end and say, "I've got it! This is who I am!", even though my explorations of who I am will always be incomplete, a work-in-progress, the process of discovery is very important. 

It could well be the most important process of discovery that you can engage in.

Exercise: Brazil 2014 performance art workshops

Who are you? Answer this question in 2 pages of hand-written free-writing where you start writing and then don't stop until you have filled 2 blank pages with your answer. Don't worry about spelling, or grammar, or punctuation. In fact don't worry about anything, just write. Stop when you have 2 pages written down. 

Reflect briefly on your writing. Now underline 3 sentences that stand out for you. There is no right and wrong. You are simply exploring your self. Finally, pick a total of 3 words from the 3 sentences and circle them. 

Now pick an object, any object that you are drawn to. Using your object in any way you like you will share your 3 words with the group, one at a time, in the form of a 1 minute performance. 

Reflect on the experience. 

12/27/14

We see around the world so much destruction, so much suffering, so much anger. This is what we see. It is on the outside so we see it.

However what is outside is simply a reflection of what is inside. If each of us in the world were not destroying ourselves moment by moment, if we were not each suffering and creating even more suffering for our selves, if we were not each angry and getting angrier day by day, the world would not be full of destruction, suffering and anger.

Society is not just a collection of people. Gandhiji distinguished between society and masses. Society comes into being through relationship. Each relationship that I have, with my wife, my neighbor, my boss, reflects my relationship with myself. So if we find that society is fragile, at a breaking point, full of conflict and greed, it means that each of us is fragile, at breaking point, full of conflict and greed.

The problem is not outside. The problem is inside. The outside is simply a reflection of the inside. It is just that what is outside is available for us to see.

How do we respond to what is happening on the outside? We can not ignore it, pretend that it does not exist. Even the earth is rebelling against such studied ignoring and lashing back with climate change and increasingly extreme, unpredictable weather. People are taking to the streets unwilling to be coaxed along with promises of material fulfillment.

However the only real and effective response is for us to change on the inside. We must change. Each of us must change. We must work to heal the split within us.

We must look at how we live and how we work and heal those first.

12/26/14

Why Gandhian economics?

Modern man and modern woman are split. This is an internal split that each one of us living today experiences. This split expresses itself as the madness of greed, violence and out-of-controlness that is our world.

How we live and how we work causes this split. How we live and how we work is the purview of economics. So modern economics has caused this split.

If we want to solve the problems of the world, if we are no longer willing to ignore the fact that the individual, the family, society and the world are messed-up everywhere, we must reject modern economics and turn to Gandhian economics.

Then we can begin to heal the split in ourselves, in our families, in our society and the world. Changing our understanding of economics, we change how we live and how we work.

That results in a profound healing of the world. Every one of us who does that contributes to the healing of the planet. We can have hope for a future for our children. It is as simple as that.
Swadeshi to me means starting from who you are. In order to do that you must first understand who you are.  You can only understand who you are by practicing body meditation. You close your eyes and focus on the predominant sensation in you body. You follow this sensation, track it. You can do it all day. 

As the great teacher Dan Emmons says, "Every second you spend on body meditation counts." It helps you understand who you are. Over time you become who you are.

Then you and your actions are no longer split. You act from a deeper place of being, of understanding. You heal your self and start the process of healing the world. 

You see you, me, we are One. 
Letter to a young man

You have written to me asking for guidance. I do not have guidance for you. All I can provide is inspiration. Once you are inspired you will know what to do. Just follow your own intuition.

The problem of looking upon me as an expert in Gandhian economics is this: then every word I say means more than every word that you say, that every thought I have of what you should do outweighs every thought that you have of what you should do.

In that case the world does not change. Every generation has to come up with its own new ideas of how to do things. Otherwise everything, including Gandhian economics, becomes sterile repetition. When you consider that such sterile repetition, such brain-washing in the name of education has brought the world to the crisis it is in now, you will forgive me for not 'guiding' you. Perhaps one day, and that is my hope, you will thank me for not 'guiding' you.

What does it take to be inspired to take action? Do you see what is happening in the world? I am not talking about what is happening far away in some distant, perhaps exotic land, often described as 'colorful'? Just look around you. How do people treat each other? Do they value each other, do they treat each other with respect? How do they treat the animals, the earth? Is it not a crying shame? Can you stand it or do you feel like you want to tear your hair out and scream at the top of your lungs?

When you feel the injustice of the world around you, feel the ridiculous respect given to pure greed in the name of sophisticated-sounding but vacuous terms like self-interest and the extolling of maximizing, of profit, of income, of grades, of self over and above others, you are inspired to change the world.

But the first step is to change your self. As Gandhiji said, "Be the change you wish to see."

I wish you great inspiration.

12/9/14

It is really very simple.

The problem is that we are split.

The solution is wholeness.