Saturday, June 19, 2010

World view, social stock and self-esteem

I was traveling for about 5 weeks outside the US, one week in Stockholm and then four weeks in Hyderabad, India. Last year on my blog, I mentioned that traveling can be revealing and this time it was revealing but totally on a different (extremely personal level). While in India, I got married to my beautiful and very sweet wife, Anusha Rudravaram.

Heuristically speaking most people's perspectives are shaped based on their body chemistry (which is shaped both by long-term evolutionary forces and mid-term societal forces). World views are plausibly the most probable causal forces in shaping our civilization and it got good amount of attention of Scott Aaronson (my hero and inspirational guide on many levels).

Social stock of a person, like his/her financial stock, indicates how good and purposeful one can feel. After achieving certain levels of financial stocks in lives people tend to shift focus to self esteems in their respective circles of life be it scientists, military, academics, plumbers, construction workers etc. Mostly because gaining self-esteem provides newer challenges (feasible ones) and hence can be stimulating and satisfying! Marriage can certainly boost ones social stock especially arranged marriages. Arranged marriage system allows for many more marriages to happen giving chance to those whose self-esteems might otherwise prohibit them from getting married. As with any stock value (opinionated value) sustained growth of stock value actually takes balls, to be able to stick to ones original values and opinions (those before gaining the stock) and not get too distracted. Otherwise one can risk too much and might be a victim of bubble bursts.

There can be social stock only if there are overlaps in the world views of two people or two groups. It's actually proportional to the amount of commonalities among the world views of people one interacts with. Now depending on the level of commonality it might be easier or harder to find overlaps between different cultures. I once mentioned that it might be easier to date someone from a different culture (because one can focus on more instinctual level overlaps). But if we are focusing on cultural level overlaps it's obviously easier with ones own culture. Of course depending on a situation one might focus on different levels of overlaps and that can change world views, social stocks and self esteems. As Scott also says his talks (scroll to the bottom for Notes) represent what he thought at the time (which is robustly consistent though as his talks are based on more objective stuff :).