Monday, December 01, 2008

Complete Lack Of Humility

Why do people assume that they can solve any problem? There are so many complex scientific experiments/theories that fail miserably in quantum physics, medical science and such fields that also involve tax payer dollars. Do people say "we must do something about it" and start suggesting solutions to these complex scientific problems in unconnected fields? As a matter of fact people don't even understand what was attempted and what actually failed. They sometimes cannot even come up with a valid criticism. In those cases, do we not accept that we don't know shit?
When it comes to terrorism, religion, governance, counter-intelligence - which are as complex if not more with thousands of moving parts and heavy randomness - people seem to assume that they know everything and start suggesting solutions to the government/RAW/Army etc? Like these people know better about terrorism and such things than the resident subject matter experts. Is there no humility left among people anymore? Where do these legions of geeks, engineers, coders and accountants get this arrogance from?
Do these self-righteous folks realize that certain problems may not have any solution at all? What gives them the right to assume that all problems have solutions?


whencatrawman said...

Dude ...... it is about taking things seriously. No one takes what the "legions of geeks, engineers, coders and accountants" say, seriously. So let them say what they want. But it is worrying when they waste hell lot of precious bandwidth and Web space to say what they want to say. ;) ....

Anyway ..... i too share your anger.

Naren's said...

intha amreeka leh ukkaarnthukinu armchair comment adikkira pasanga thonthruvu thaanga mudila...wat makes u guys assume that there can't be a solution to every problem?..heck i don care about all those problems genius kinds ..cosmo, scientific or complex problems not having a solution ..but i have a real problem that the probability of me or my close ones being caught, for the matter being dead because of a terrorist act has increased alarmingly and i have a right to demand a solution.U better layoff Dude. U guys willl never understand this.

hari said...

I agree with the comment above. It's easy to be a critic at this time. I appreciate the people who've actually offered something constructive and thoughtful amidst all this noise and hot air abusing politicians and blaming our "systemic flaws" and so on and so forth.

But in any case, this argument is getting pretty repetitive and boring. Soon we'll get into a cycle of criticizing people who criticize and then criticizing people who criticize people who criticize people and so on.

S said...


You are incredibly stupid. You also have poor comprehension skills.

Anonymous said...

Narennu you are talking as if you are the only one who can potentially be a victim. summa mudittu pooviya. enna onsite kidaikalainnu kaduppa?

Naren's said...

thoda solltaarba comrehension pulavaru...neengha moodungada ..evanayum nakka vaendiya avasiyamum enakku illa..evanayum thitta vaendiya avasiyamum illa.irukkaratha sonna purinjikangada.....yaaaruda avan onsite pathi paesuravan..aaamaanda naan india vitu engaeyum unga ellathayum vida en ellamae enaku first hand nalla theryum ...pothumaada punnaku..

Naren's said...

dei anony where did i say i could be ht eonly one who could be a potential victim...antheh comprehension pulavaru kita vaena class eduthuko...

Archana said...

I do agree with your comments on unnecessary suggestions.
But you got to admit, over-dramatising by press got us some concrete results - with ministers resigning!

bombay dosti said...

I think that was one of the most profound posts that I have seen on this issue.. .seriously!

I think when you say you dont have the solution, you seem to show an understanding of the complexity of the solution.

Although, at these times, there are comparisons made between ministers, especially home ministers, as in what another, stronger minister would have done.
But to offer a solution to "terrorism" as such just shows how simplistically we see a highly complex issue.
Most of all, I love your sarcasm!!!!

Extra-Ordinarily Ordinary said...


Going by the qualifications of our honorable ministers, I think anybody on the blog world might be better suited to give any advice. :D

Anu Russell said...

Randomly tangent comment from me...


Ministers resigning is not a corrupt dude gives way to many others. How is the problem solved with it?

If anything, IMHO the media just F-ed up big time, because they cared more about the TRP effing rating than people's life inside...Jerks...again IMHO :)

Peace out

Gradwolf said...

hey, but they only elected these "subject matter experts" aka "decision makers", no?

We would all be more interested in the reason for this post. Yaaru onga kitta vaya utta?

Anonymous said...


dei anony where did i say i could be ht eonly one who could be a potential victim...

ada adhukulla balti adikare.

idho inga dhaan ba sollikire

but i have a real problem that the probability of me or my close ones being caught, for the matter being dead because of a terrorist act has increased alarmingly and i have a right to demand a solution.U better layoff Dude. U guys willl never understand this.

i think think this post was meant specially for stupids like you. perusa vandhutaanunga. indiavula irundha nee desa patru ullavana. mudittu poda.

lux said...

I get the same feeling when someone comments how kumble should bowl / sachin should bat in the ground sitting on their couch as though they have played and won international matches.

Raghu said...

Hawkeye - agree & share with most (not all) of your sentiments & anger. Some of the comments read very smuggish - namma oorla avan avan sethundrukkan....inge ennadaa naa vettiyaa blogs sandai podarom. Sheds light on the unity we have as citizens, regardless of where we live - grow up ppl.

What happened last week was one more instance (among many in the recent past) that we should be taking our defense more seriously.
Disgusted to comment more on this (debatable) topic.

I rest my case !!

Hawkeye said...


That is problem. People think watching terrorist activities in live news is like watching a cricket match live. That they know *everything* thats happening out there and so can give their 2 cents worth of knowledge. Cricket matches have spoiled people into believing that they are experts on anything. They are not.

Cricket matches and such terrorist acts are two completely different things. In the latter - there are a million things going on out there which no one really knows for sure. The biggest decisions these IT type folks have done in their lives is whether or not to buy a land in singavel kundram. These folks certainly know nothing about preventing terrorists from succeeding.

ana ...invanunga ellam advise panna vandhutaanunga.

Anonymous said...


Don't you think that ordinary citizens offering solutions is perhaps the only way to take up a problem, seeing as how wonderfully "pro-active" and "competent" our govt is?

I'm tired of listening to these geriatric old farts in their khadi kurtas, talking down to the people from their high horses. If they can't offer any good solutions, then maybe its time that all of us did. At least 1 out of a 1000 bad ideas will turn out to be good.

I fear that citizen vigilantism as depicted in the movie "A Wednesday" will become a reality.

sreekrishnanv said...

Atleast they came with critisicm this time if not for the sciences .... The point is if scientific problem fails I don't die .. Govt fails , I can starve and die .... So it's not being Indian it's being selfish ....
Did any one raise a voice against all those killed in Kashmir dying in the hands of terrorists - meant the army ... No one ... Now when machans and maamans die you worried which is justified ...
Ivanukku nadanthathu nalaikki namakkum nadantha ??? We need someone to take responsibility even if they don't own it ... And bloody politicians enjoi so much ... And this is the time for kaala vaaral ..

Ram said...


I am amazed how so many people are able to agree with this post. In the interest of improving the quality of material on this site, I can not.

There are a number of things I debate and I wonder why this bums you out so much?

Why do you think people should have a "right" to assume? Can't they just assume? Why should everything be so perfect? Is the world perfect?

Along the same token, why do you "assume" that people seem to know everything? Would you also think the same of a child that is trying to debate a topic in school?

People try to solve issues or propose solutions on issues that matter most to them. Religion is of course a topic that is vastly debatable, is filled with controversies, hypocrisies, etc.

I am willing to take a more broader view. Let people speak up with their suggestions. Why should someone have any elite qualifications to make a suggestion? Yes, 99% of them maybe nonsense, but why not allow them. Maybe there is a gem in that 1% sitting there waiting to be discovered.

The fields being compared are not even in the same scale. Quantum Physics, Medical Science vs Religion and Terrorism? C'mon!

Anonymous said...

Back to Square one,a!
So, telling people is wrong, let us restrict ourselves just cribbing about it. have you never advised people in this blog?

Anonymous said...

What about your post dear Hawkeye? How is this post an example of humility? Especially with this statement?
"Do these self-righteous folks realize that certain problems may not have any solution at all?"

Unga decision thaana....? :)

All of us are the same ulaga boat...

Bala said...

It's cliche to discuss certain issues such as religion where no concrete answer can be found. But on terrorism, the people have the right to question.

I'm with Hawkeye when people take the media as their source of information and go about commenting, proposing solutuions.

The way the media has handled the issue is appalling. I think Pakistan's warning against Media about the remarks on its involvement without proper evidence can be viewed from a perspective how Media has screwed up the information. No conclusive evidence, nothing..

However, they didn't try to inform the public of the measures that where taken, what are the loop-holes. , etc. Media should just educate. Not preach.

Anonymous said...

Going with your usual style, i hope this post is to provoke junta to spew comments. It would be pity if you actually feel that this problem is unsolvable.

Babs said...

I don't have any issues with ppl discussing solutions instead of problems, it only makes them creative..and in this case a terrorist is just like u and me, a normal man and dull one too..hence his thot process is similar to us, but the only difference is he is
selfless, fighting for higher cause in his mind...that make him a powerful weapon....
the exact opposite of our spiritual selfless man....who is powerful tool to better this world,
The idea of Rajiv Gandhi's murder the belt bomb came from 'the Negotiator" a single man's
destructive thinking....why cant decent solutions discussed by half intelligent man lead to start of fighting terrorism in a different way.....

I dont like it when someone says India's problem is population...WTF..we know that and thanks for stating the obvious...I wud like to hear more solutions to such problems....

But I believe ur aggression is more about ppl being so opinionated about their solution
wud work better than what the govt is doing.....and advising without understanding what is in place now and why its not working....

Anonymous said...

did you read this post just before you made yours?

//For the very notion of "solution" is inherently flawed, at least in the socio-political context. It can only exist and operate from within a continuum that transfigures the status-quo with respect to the new entry -- "solution" -- into the hitherto itself. And status-quo can't be anything but a problem, can it?//

Hawkeye said...

huh! i seem to have read it commented even. so i take my previous comment back. i read it but forgot. but as i said in that comment - i already had a similar opinion. And i am not surprised our opinions converge.

Bhaskar said...


I am confused by your comment. when 99% of opinions is nonsense what is wrong in criticisng the people who make those opinions.

Fundamentally what is wrong in expecting people to actually know the subject in which they are proposing these so called solutions.

Going by your comment looks lik anybody can say anything, even harmful things in the name of contribution. It seems to lower the bar and increase mediocrity.

finally as a side note...

I am amazed how so many people are able to agree with this post. In the interest of improving the quality of material on this site, I can not.

please don't alienate and pass judgement on other readers of this blog. Naren did the same mistake of stereotyping a borader subsection of readers while attempting to disagree with a specific author.

I agree with this post. However, I don't agree with many things bharath says. But saying quality of readership and quality of content is bad just because you don't agree with it is uncalled for.

~ Bhaskar

Vikram said...

Another important point that we are missing here is that unless there is a meaningful way to channelize the suggestions made by these oridinary folks into the hears of the decision making authorities, all of those suggestions end up being just plain'ol chatter. When you look into the history of our politicans, there aren't too many instances when they have listened to diverse opinions. So, I agree with you, for the reason mentioned above.

Ram said...


I only said.. it may or could be 99% nonsense, not necessarily so. I did not try to alienate any readers as much as express my surprise.

Good feedback and nicely put. I rest my case.


Arun Sundar said...

'Freedom of Speech' kaelvi pattadhu illayaa?

Hawkeye said...


(thought i posted this comment yday but realized for some reason it didnt go through -- so recollecting and reposting most of it)

1. the post's issue is not about people's "freedom of expression". of course everybody *can* say what they want as per law. By the spirit of your arguments - I should be allowed to say what I want too.

2. there are two kinds of people that i see in blogosphere, media and desi aliases - the first are people who say "dude I am not getting what I wanted from this government. screw them. I want a change. give me better governance". This post does not criticise or refer to those people at all.

3. The second category of people are those who say "The guys who are supposed to do this job don't know anything. Here, let me tell you what the real problem is. This is what happened. I am proposing a solution. This is what they should do. This is how they should do it"

This post questions the second category's credibility. The reason being - all their theory, analysis and suggestions are hackneyed. It is a regurgitation of theories spun by the media. Bottomline - they don't seem to know anything. But claim they know better than the people who are currently doing that job.

4. Also, this habit of dissing politicians and using them to judge the competence of India's 'intelligence'. Yes, the politicians have a major role to play but that is not everything. The background work that is being done by specialists, army, RAW, IB, and host of other support entities is being completely ignored. People don't even seem to aware that there is such structure.

To assume that an ordinary man knowns more than the staff of support structure, who have been doing that kind of work for deacdes, is something I find hard to digest.

5. There is a distinction between an ordinary man wanting to join IB or RAW and make it better Vs sitting outside the structure/ sitting at home and already begin to claim that know are better.

6. Finally - you may not need to know *everything*. But you do need to know significant information to get to a level of starting to propose a solution. religion/terrorism etc are complex enough that an ordinary man has a very low probability of even comprehending what is going on let alone solve the problem.

/* The fields being compared are not even in the same scale. Quantum Physics, Medical Science vs Religion and Terrorism? C'mon! */

i am confused by this - are you saying religion/terrorism less complex or more complex?

Hawkeye said...


/* The point is if scientific problem fails I don't die .. Govt fails , I can starve and die ...*/

how does the consquence of problems not getting solved improve your ability to solve the problem? Especially when you are not trained to solve problems of this nature.

like if you get AIDS will you suddenly acquire the medical ability to find a cure against aids? The maximum you can do is set up a foundation and donate money. It is up to the skilled people to solve it. If you want to acquire a skill you have to join med school learn medicine.

Bhaskar said...


Let it be even 60% nonsense. Though I would put the number as close as 99.99% nonsense.

If you fall sick will you go to a doctor (qualified person) or ask thousands of people for a suggestion in the hope that 1% will give a 'gem'.

~ Bhaskar.

Hawkeye said...


/* But I believe ur aggression is more about ppl being so opinionated about their solution
wud work better than what the govt is doing.....and advising without understanding what is in place now and why its not working.... */

idhe dhaan. Gradwolf asked the question earlier I should have responded then.

Ram said...


First off, thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my comments in good bit of detail. I must admit that it clarified to me atleast your perspective and yes, you caught the spirit of my argument correctly!

Some references like the ones you allude to in blogosphere or otherwise would have helped understand your reasoning better. Andha Sabnis effect innum irukku nenekkeraen ;)

Having zilch understanding of Quantum Physics or Religion, how can I dare compare the two? But aren't they in a different class from each other? Is it even a valid comparison?

I am in awe of the time you take to clarify your posts, besides posting them and the way you interact with your commentators. Normally, I don't come back to read follow up comments or click the follow up option. But this seems very interesting.


Now I am lost on why you bring up the doctor analogy. Yes, if I had to go somewhere, I would go to the specialist. But the web can be a maze, where you just don't go where you intend to go, but could go though a number of detours through links or RSS feeds. In that, it is a more of a push model, you can liken it to where if you are sick, thousands of people call you to offer suggestions.

Hawkeye said...

Again - just to avoid an unnecessary digression. This post does not claim that "experts know everything". Because in this case I really don't know anything about the "experts". most of the general junta also have no idea what the expert knows. (which is why) in this context - when a common man says he knows better than the experts - I don't find that very credible.


"Do these self-righteous folks realize that certain problems may not have any solution at all?"

Hawkeye said...


i agree i left the post more open ended that I should have. infact gradwold asked me why i wrote this.

the real stimulus if you want to know is - there is an alias for desis in my office. they have written this big letter to manmohan singh telling him exactly what india should have done in past / how they could have avoided the terrorist attack/ how they could have killed terrorists quickly/ and how he should "set up process" to avoid this in the future.

200 people edited that letter and they are now going to send it to him.

Of course he is never going to read it. Or respect it when he reads it. But you should have seen that letter. It was quite a beast.

Bhaskar said...


Having zilch understanding of Quantum Physics or Religion, how can I dare compare the two? But aren't they in a different class from each other?

The above was what I suggested with my doctor explanation. We don't know zilch about medcine, physics, religion or terrorism. The first two we keep quiet. Why assume that we can offer suggestions on religion and terrorism?


Ram said...


Ok... now I need no further explanation for the motivation of this post! Amen!!!

Hey.. please do email me your phone number. I SMSed the number I have for you.. no response.


Anonymous said...

Hawkeye, I agree with you on the media and would definitely vote for the Ezhavu bill. Frankly, I think, they should have refrained from showing the footage of the captured terrorist or the commandos. And yes, more often than not, breaking news, is no longer news. But, if could have worse.

As far as I have seen the people per se are not questioning the IB or RAW or the military.They are simply demanding to know what the government was doing when the IB sent them information. They are simply putting forth ideas to improve the security. They are questioning the politicians and they have a right to do it. If your house is on fire, you would do something to protect it. Thats what we are trying to do. It is not arrogance, it is an attempt to protect ourselves.

Coming from TN, I know some of the citizens are better equipped to deal with governance issues than the politicians here.

Matra said...

Apart from our know all politicians, another such group is the elite MBAs especially those with an IIT background. These people think they know everything and have a solution to every problem.

The GOMBAS seem to be doing all sort of jobs. Even with an engineering background they are seen fit to be investment bankers etc etc.

When Vikram Pandit became the head honcho of Citigroup, much was talked about his MBA background. Where is Citigroup now ?. What about all those failed financial institutions which had all those fat paycheck drawing MBAs.

Enna kodumai saar idhu :(

Anonymous said...


so who should draw fat paychecks? People who get last rank in class, those who fail to pass 12th standard, people who have B.A. History, who don't basics of economics, and people who can't even get into local Seeman ttorial M.B.A.?

ivangellam vandhu citibank lead senja ellam urupuduma? padichi IIT sera vakku illai poramai mattum perusaaa....

Schmetterling said...

and the endless debate on who knows better than who else continues..(of course it should, it's endless) - sigh. the irk factor only increases with time.

Ne said...

This is going to be a never ending debate. If people stop pretending to know, it might be easy on the ears of those who admit they do not have the expertize to comment.

Anonymous said...

Nandri... And I agree... Time for some introspection :)...

ஆளவந்தான் said...


What you are talking is total bullshit.

All we know is the Politician/Security official didnt do their job at all, apart from that they did some stupid things eg "Achuthananthan", "Ramgopal varma" and so on. Thats where people got hurt more..

You knew very well we have handled/adjusted many more incidents like Kumbagonam, Tsunami
, kargil and every year flood. But what happened in Mumbai is stupidity.

I dont agree one thing with you that "Criticize after understanding". this is total bullshit statment.

Suppose say, you are doing project for a customer, if he doesnt get expected output, he will simply say that "it is total shit". He doesn't need understand your code fully.

Simple example: A person seeing a movie, after coming out of the movie, he is saying "Bullshit movie". Does he need to understand the Director or Producer's pain? No, It is the otherway around.

No offense intended

Hawkeye said...


the least you could do was not comment without fully understand what teh author is tryin to say.

please read my comments above in response to others comments.

ஆளவந்தான் said...

I always hate people whoz advising/proposing solution. (புத்தி சொல்றாராம்)..thats why i hate cricket fans and cricket.

apart from that since everybody has chance to express their views in web/media, all are become Journalists nowadays.. ( நாட்டுல இந்த தொழிலதிபர்கள் தொல்லை தாங்க முடியலடா சாமீ.. குண்டூசி விக்கிரவனல்லாம், தொழிலதிபராம்)

But As I commented already, public don’t need to understand the issue to show their frustration.

Raghu said...

Hawkeye - I would highly recommend u watching 'A Wednesday' (Hindi pilim) !! The VHS was lying in our house collecting dust for over a month and I made it a point to see it last wknd (on a crappy, rainy, cold wknd !!).

The movie like any other, has a few inane flaws but the overall impact of the message from the director is very interesting food for thought(s).

vijay said...

'Where do these legions of geeks, engineers, coders and accountants get this arrogance from?

Good question to ask yourself before you set forth to review film next time and purport to find theories on why you think the film failed and claim to know all about it(like your comment in a review on how Rajni films fail when they either overestimate or underestimate his fans' stupidity, as if you did some market research on Rajni fans' intelligence and also a simultaneous failure analysis for Rajni movies. BTW,I am not a Rajni fan or anything like that so you can stop thinking that's the reason i quoted this comment). When it comes to discussing cricket, politics or movies the arm-chair critic in you takes over sub-consciously. Anyone is qualified to speak authoritatively on most topics that occupy our headlines. Has'nt that always been our birthright? so why should it bother you all off a sudden, NOW?

why didnt it bother you earlier, like say when people called TV shows all the time and offered solutions to comperes like Kris Srikkanth on what should be done to our team and what strategies should be adopted? Most of these guys wouldnt have played beyond gully cricket.

Hawkeye said...


yes. rama is seetha's chithappa.

ஆளவந்தான் said...


I understand that, நான் புடிச்ச முயலுக்கு மூனே கால்.