This weekend brings a different color to the Weekend Thoughts column. The reason is that the article contributed by Umakanta Choudhury has a different angle or flavour than what we have seen uptil today. By making this statement, I do not mean to distinguish between the quality of the articles submitted prior to today. All contributions are exemplary and unique. We do have a diverse intelligentia and each individual has a unique thought process. Hence, we see a glimpse of the thought being piped in through this column.
Umakanta is like a younger brother to me. I know him since our school days. We used to board the same bus from the same stop to go to school. He is the classmate of my younger brother and also my wife. He was well regarded amongst his friends during those days. With a brilliant scholarship he was well known by teachers and students in D.M. School.
With the above introduction, I would like to introduce you all to the concept of the article. Everyday, we think, feel, or talk about life and happiness. Some great person at some opportune moment had commented that Life is not a simple equation. We do have too many constraints and too many parameters that we handle on a regular basis. Unknowingly, we do optimize a few parameters in order to move on or achieve our goals. These parameters cannot be always defined mathematically. However, people who work in the field of artificial intelligence have been successful in defining a few intuitive or heuristic patterns of life. They have also successfully optimized such patterns. Well, this is a dry idea and unrelated to what Umakanta is trying to present.
Let us think about happiness for a moment. How can we define happiness? If so, then how can we manipulate our constraints in life in order to get the utmost happiness? One might say that I am quite content with how I lead my life. Does that mean this person is getting the utmost happiness in life? What I see is that the person is adjusting to the circumstances in deriving the utmost pleasure/happiness from a subset of the entire domain of happiness that is present. In mathematical terminology, the person is concentrating on a subspace to adjust to the constraints. This does not mean that the person has reached a global optimum.
Each one of us has a different life pattern. What we are constrained with is our family, society, work, acquaintances, as well as sex, caste, color, creed, language and so on and so forth. However, the most important constraint is that ensuing from the individual person. Pleasure/happiness/contentment can be derived from all these sources depending on circumstances that are unique to the individual. This is where the person defines a subspace and tries involuntarily to optimize the objective (i.e. Happiness).
Umakanta has done a splendid job in defining this objective and some of the associated constraints in order to put forth a sound problem in front of all of us. Let's look into this more deeply and try to think how this can be solved. I am sure you all will enjoy the article and I hope that some of you (particularly expert system analysts, operation research specialists) will add to the formulation and provide expert comments.
Let's go through the article. Comments from one and all are always welcome.
Debasmita Misra (09/29/95)
1. Schooling: DM School, Bhubaneswar (till 1980) Achievement: Stopped talking to TWO of my classmates! (1) One for complaining against the teacher when I was silently listening to cricket match from a radio hidden inside my box sitting on a back seat. (2) Another for throwing a rubber ball at me while I was looking the other way. How dare they treat me this way!! 2. ISc: BJB College, Bhubaneswar (1980-1982) Achievement: Had the BIG realization that at this rate I will stop talking to the whole world at age 60. 3. BTech: IIT, Kharagpur (1982-1986) Achievement: Worked hard and remained in the TOP 99.99% of the class who came to the Land of Opportunity. 4. M.S/PhD: University of California at Berkeley (1986-1992) Achievement: Took full advantage of the F1 student status to get married and avoid green card hassles for my wife. 5. AT&T Bell labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey (1992-1994) Achievement: Immediately bought a car (Got a great deal: $1000 cash back and then a low monthly payment of $99 for 99 years). 6. AT&T Bell labs, Allentown , Pennsylvania (1994-now) Achievement: Bought a house (this time taking a little longer term loan than my short term car loan). But recently, I realized that by the time I retire, I would have contributed less than 50 cents towards the actual house loan, the rest of payments going for interest to make the mortgage company rich.
Your comments are always welcome...
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