Monday, August 11, 2008

Technique and essence


Being a mathematics teacher teaching for competitive exams, I understand very well that students give a lot of importance to the techniques to solve problems. They call these techniques by names like short cuts, easy solutions etc. and they wish to know how they can crack their exams in as little time as possible using these techniques. People like short cuts and people like techniques.

Short cuts dont always work! Cliched though it may seem, it is nothing but hardcore truth. If you follow a technique to solve a problem and the problem statement is slightly modified, the technique might not bail you out. You might need to customize the technique to suit your new requirement. And you can only do this if you know the essence of the technique. Essence is that which creates, technique is the created! But knowing the essence, deriving the formulae and understanding the logic behind a method if more tedious than just learning a formula by rote. And thus, the technique is known, the essence compromised!

The whys and hows are the questions that are more difficult to seek answers to than the whats. But only those who make the effort go the distance! Maths is so much like life. We all need to survive. When in school, I did not realize that survival is so easy. Come what may, in the end, everyone survives. Whether you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, intelligent or not, everyone in the end survives. People follow various professions(techniques) to earn a living and survive(essence). But is surviving the final essence? IS that the only purpose? Surviving is in itself a technique for the bigger essence which is living. We are here not just to survive, we are here to live.

Living then is just a technique to attain our purpose in life, which is the essence. And so on. Every technique can be the essence for a newer technique. But, what we need to know is the essence, for once the essence is known the technique can be easily derived.

Most religions in the world today have ended up being a set of rituals and rites(techniques) to be followed. In the technique, we have forgotten the essence and hence, all the terrorism and riots the world over. Let us ask those questions that lead us to the essence. Asking the whys and the hows is a technique that takes you towards the essence. Every technique is like an institution in itself which people follow. But let us de-institutionalize ourself and find out the essence of our every day techniques - techniques to survive, to live and to be happy and blissful.

Let us adopt those techniques that take the journey the reverse way around - those techniques that take you to the essence - to the source and the creator. Lets just breathe and know our ownselves better - let us know numbers before attempting to crack the CAT!!!