Invoke - Season 2 of a series of 4 - Happiness Decoded

Try bringing the prayer before food into your lives. Say grace!

Ikigai and Mojo.

In the last season we provoked with “How much do we need and what for”?

We ended that with some swansongs including Steve Jobs’s self appraisal of his own self as being a ‘twisted self’. Thats true too for Jesus Christ who bled to death but is celebrated nonetheless!

That pathos and pain in the voice of Steve was deliberately lost in the din of the eulogies post his demise. No one wants to acknowledge his sadness.

To an individual the most daunting task is to be able to hold a mirror to oneself. A large majority of us tend to go though life justifying our choices but fail to choose honestly and see the mirror in our final moments of redemption. Do we live a charade. Lets examine.

If in E1 we provoked. In this E2 lets invoke, “1. How much do we need and 2. what for”?

The first step in that direction is to be able to talk to our mirror sans charades, trappings and delusions of targets, ambition and money any more than “1. How much do we need and 2. what for”?

Those two questions will also in a way help one determine and establish one’s Mojo: The Talisman and Ikigai: Our purpose for being.


There is a very important and sacred precursor and a pre-requisite to that. Lets prepare you.

Bear gratitude in heart for what you have. There is always much more that ‘lies’ (pun intended: ‘lies’) ‘ahead’, but there’s a lot of truth to be thankful for.

In that state the head is bowed and even a feather falling on it or just breeze tousling your hair feels like a star shower. It’s a mere matter of perception and choice to feel sad for what you don’t have or feel grateful for what you have. While the former fills you up with regret, sadness and anxiety, the latter prepares you for more gratitude and even love. Try bringing the prayer before food into your lives. Say grace!

This helps you choose your orientation. Saves you from judging those around yourself. Plucks prejudices away from the skin of your soul. To hold a prejudice is to hold someone else accountable for your inability to accept anything beyond what you believe. Do not allow what you believe to reinforce itself in you as an opinion. Opinions can be self limiting and when questioned or disagreed with, respond irritably with a “why? No!!”. These lead to rigor mortis of thought. We shall deal with this in the next season.

Happiness and Artificial Intelligence

Our minds have become tuned to a new neuroplasticity. It suggests to us placebos that eclipse our reality.

Neuroplasticity is the change that occurs in neural pathways and synapses due to certain factors, like behavior, environment, or neural processes.

During such changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, deleting the neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthening the dominant ones that constantly reinforce our beliefs.

It is here that we end up justifying our position in life nearly as if to claim entitlement over our own judgment of who or where we are. It is a self hypnotic state.

That complexity is better defined as minds controlled more by the environment that now suggests to the mind to adapt to it and the mind does. At this stage, the mind stops seeking, it gets soaked and stands claimed.

Do you already smell technology? The mind does adapt itself to the shoe it saw on a website that continues to appear thereafter on each page in Google and elsewhere almost miraculously and wont stop hitting the surfer like the metaphorical sandbag between the two eyes until she buys it.

The shoe in crocodile skin!

Artificial intelligence now leads us by the finger and sires our next desire as we become more and more neuroplastic. Meanwhile we ceded control over our discretion to even choose. Our Neurons have been put to bed and sent to sleep.

As if Artificial Intelligence isn’t a conspiracy already, ‘Virtual Reality’ is the oxymoron unleashed upon us. It’s a carefully chosen semantic. Its an oxymoron that alludes to even the virtual or simulated experience being real.

How can something that is virtual ever be real?

We shall delve into this in our season 3. and

Large corporations that claim altruism as their motto in favor of serving humanity take over the lives of the customers both external and internal. Under their promise to change the world and make it a better place to live, these corporations profit under the gloss of their own making.

In contrast would their mottos not be meaningful only if with each of my purchases, a company allocated a share to me too. It can easily be carved from the profit on each unit sold. If that is done then we create wealth. Otherwise no matter how altruistic their vision, mission and value statements, its all about profits. Therefore I ask again, can my shares be carved out of the profits? Nah!.

When will a professional CEO gain enough courage to stand up to the Chairman of the board and propose carving out a policy that entails capitalizing a micro percentage of the profit from each product sold to me and allocating me a share that instantly transfers through a whatsapp to me or the customer.

‘She’ or ‘he’ will do it, if she or he asks the corporation hiring him as to how much it is that it needs for a lifetime and what for within that lifetime or what for even beyond it?

‘She’ or ‘he’ will not do it if s/he is under a hypnotic spell as is his/her business.

If that were to be done, it would truly be building social capital, loyal customers and protective stakeholders.

The charade of happiness

Now that would be creating stakeholders and not hapless, blinkered, naïve customers for their products even as the Czars sit in their ivory towers.

Indeed, if facebook has had the world hooked to posing, hold on and realize the effect of its dozing that for a market cap of 780 Billion in glee

You and I are a part of the 1.69 Billion posing for free

That makes us to him worth 460 dollars each

Where in this do I with my ikigai reach

While I am lost in this mist and impress in vain

It fishes my mind and sells it only for its gain.

Disclaimer: At this stage, the mind has stopped seeking. Instead with social media the process of soaking the space in the attic has begun. We spoke of the space in the ‘attic’ in season 1 of this journey that now gets claimed by this new age media. That attic does not have elastic walls. So we create large warehouses to stock what wont fit into that ‘attic’. The story of space is tucked between the mind; the attic and mindlessness; the optic!

At this point I bring in two stories to add to the effect.

Story One:

There is in the midst of all noise a pied piper who is at play

in digital media, TV, radio, magazines and hoardings on the way, “Come hither” as these dance menacingly to fish your mind away, we need to pay an exorcist to get away from their sway!

That space we spoke of in the mind becomes a casualty of the paradigm of commercial progress as it invites us to buy what we don’t need with money that we don’t have through loans that we spend lives to repay in the name of pleasure that deludes happiness which remains at large and elusive.

Moral of the story: Choice has spoilt us and taken us away from basic human values to valuing hoarding, amassing and cluttering that we don’t know how to handle. Can we admit that we are spoilt for choice.

Story two:

"The Emperor's New Clothes" is a literary folktale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about a vain emperor who gets exposed before his subjects. The tale has been translated into over 100 languages.

The plot is simple. Allow me to make a rhyme!

Two swindlers arrive at the court of an emperor who spends lavishly on clothing at the expense of state matters and all else.

Posing as weavers, they offer to stitch magnificent clothes with an avant-garde bent that are invisible to those who are stupid or incompetent.

(This might seem familiar with today’s Artificial intelligence.)

They do not charge any money upfront.

(This might sound familiar with the social media platforms that alone know how they make sense).

The emperor approves them, and they set up looms and go to work round the clock.

Succession of officials, and then the emperor himself, visit them to check their progress and whats in stock

Each sees that the looms are empty but pretends otherwise to avoid being thought a fool.

Finally, the weavers report that the emperor's suit is finished and it is the coolest cool.

They mime dressing him and he sets off in a procession before the city folks.

The townsfolk uncomfortably go along with the pretense, not wanting to appear inept or stupid and no one talks.

A child blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all.

Some that laugh are branded as fools, inept and stupid while the others play along the foolish gall.

Although startled, the emperor continues the procession, walking more proudly than ever as he avers the laugher a foolish suggestion

Moral of the story: One has to look beneath the veneer of our procession as to what has been our Ikigai and our purpose for being and Mojo or our ‘talisman’ and in that line how much is it that one needs and for what.

Anything other than that Ikigai and Mojo is a circus of which we are all hapless jokers playing to the tune of the pied piper from the hoardings and screens with the desire to be seen in a procession.

How Trade frames happiness

“If making the world a better place” has indeed been the generous claim of most top companies in the world, I wonder why small countries like Burundi, Congo, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique or Madagaskar have ‘escaped’ their attention. Some of these have a GDP less than a billion Dollars even as the reserves of some of the top companies may have in excess of a trillion dollars each.

That ‘escape’ is inadvertent and not deliberate. It is driven by neuroplasticity.

While their business has replaced the business of life and the matrix of their progress is studied in the graph of their balance sheets. One wonders where is the elusive promise to make the life of its employee under stress or customer under its spell any happier, let alone make the world better.

The internal customer or the employee at this stage is constantly under the threat of losing her or his job if s/he isn’t able to meet the target.

The HR justifies this as refresh and even careful pruning. The high performers too reach the level of their incompetence sooner or later and turn into corpses while Corporations are built on this high pile of such corpses and the Pied Piper plays on.

While there is progress in this, where in this is the happiness.

Poverty, disease and hunger must dance naked while their logos must bedazzle you on the hoardings on the 5th street at Manhattan inviting you to their claim of making the world a better place even as a half eaten ‘apple’ never sees mildew and their colorful ‘windows’ must remain closed to the sounds of hungry breath in Burundi or Madagaskar.

If a coke’s success is measured in the caliber and girth of its cash flow, well then here ‘lies’ ( pun intended: lies) its ‘truth’ about its god being better than Pepsi’s or vice versa. The promised happiness from this thirst quencher then is reduced to mere momentary fizz and fury that goes flat soon thereafter.

Lets invoke the bard again from Othello, “..and then way to dusty death. Life is but a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It’s a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!”

Summing up:

The first essay or season in this series of 4 seasons pointed to how the world lugs its luggage in crocodile skin while the man is lost in this haze to discover “how much she needs and for what?”.

This essay, the second season of happiness points to the meaning of life as being, to find your gift or 1. mojo with which to illuminate and catalyze the purpose of life or 2. ikigai.

To do that one has to be cautious of falling prey to neuroplasticity.

If as an individual one calibrated those two in the navigator of one’s life, one would end up being honest to one’s job or business.

Vice versa and simultaneously if the HR practitioners mapped, in addition to the professional competence of an individual also her or his mojo and ikigai, it would help them extract the plasma from the blood but re-inject that blood back into the humanoid that shall come to work tomorrow in the wake of the AI, VR and IOT driven world.

That will keep the spirit and soul of the humanoid free to appropriate and seek its redemption at the right time rather than delude and misappropriate her/himself and the organization. It would also enable the organization renew and refresh and remain agile.

That would be a perfect world appreciating imperfections leading to a healthy symbiotic mutualism even if for as long as it lasts.

The third season “Evoke” shall show you, the need to face yourself in an honest mirror as we untangle some knots and attempt to straighten and smoothen some creases to make you presentable for yourself.

The forth season “Bespoke” will then enable you to hold that mirror to your face. It would only find its rest in paying an ode and homage to Steve Jobs as he ‘lies’ embracing his final ‘truth’ in an unmarked grave at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto, CA. He had wanted it that way.

Once again; you alone split the universe into two equal halves where you stand. In other words, you are the centre of its world. If this ‘invokes’ you to figure more; look for the next season that shall ‘evoke’ happiness: S3.

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