Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Anatomy of attitude

Over the past few months, I have been curious to understand how a person's attitude gets formed or how does one become 'cool'. To ease the analysis, let me separate the world into two spheres; one being the Theatre of Perception and second being the Sphere of Reception. The theatre is the sphere where one is being looked at, analysed, dissected and then classified and sometimes crucified. This theatre could be walking on the road, college, office, retail mall , pub, basically any place where public perception is important in determining your worth and coolness. The second, the sphere of reception are places like your home, company of your close friends where perceptions do not matter , 'you are what you are'.
In the theatre of perception, there are three determinants of attitude. The first determinant is DNA. This is like the hardwired chipset of a computer. So suddenly if at age 16 one wants to come across as intelligent, it would be very difficult to do so unless ones DNAs do a trapeze act. Thankfully intelligence is so old-fashioned that smartness and google can get one out of most situations, nowadays. So there is something in the science of genetics which makes people born to a great pedigree cool. Saif Ali Khan is after all a Maharaja's son even though he wears baby pink T-shirts in Salaam Namaste.
The second determinant is your receptivity to the signals God, the world and other mortals keep giving. This is influenced to some extent by the alignment of stars when one is born, so a Leo is likely to be more aggressive. These signs are only indicative, nothing causal. Like good properties or bad properties in metals, they need the right catalysts to come on their own.

The third determinant is finally the softwiring which gets influenced by the catalysts and the ambient environment. The first 2 determinants give an exposed negative with certain characteristics but the third is the developer fluid. The most important catalyst is parenting. A dad who names his son Ramanathan Kosarapalli has killed almost 80% of his son's coolness potential. Unless the son manages to change it to Rock during his college days. Kids who are named Siddharth (Sid) are named lucky instead of born lucky.
The economic conditions of a kids upbringing also matter. A rich kid can be himself since money is not a concern, but a middle class kid has to be what is best for his family. Plus if that means spending more time solving complex differential equations to determine the specific gravity of cow's urine then he has little time to evolve to being cool. Rich kids have huge margins of safety ( euphemism for dads deep pockets).The other influencers are of course peer group, education and exposure to situations. If you hang out mostly with nerds, then your biggest kick would be to complete Age of Empires rather than read Erich Segal's Love Story.
But once you are in the Theatre of perception, looks do matter. There was a statistic that showed handsome and tall men performed better than others in life. So what if you dont have good looks, big pockets or a good name? The only option is to make every act in the theatre count. So the way you carry oneself, the clothes you wear, the way you handle a traffic cop, way you handle your boss, the sum total of all your interactions in a time sensitive world can give you some coolness. But if thats also lost, welcome to the world of uncool.


At 2:33 AM, Blogger Kaps said...


I hv added u to my blogroll.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Cool post jazz..
P.S.: Would that comment influence the Theatre of Perception?

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Parth said...

Excellent post. The third determinant especially cracked me up :-) You are in the sphere of cool blog writers for sure.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Anjali said...

Really funny - I especially loved the bit on nomenclature.


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