Musings on Impulses and Immediacy

Note: This is a very long post that I wrote yesterday night; read it at your own peril.

I just returned to Noida today, after spending some time at Mysore. I was just planning to go to sleep and boom: no power. A sure sign I’m back-north.

The weather here is horrible. It rained (a lot, so I hear) today, and it’s still unbearably hot. I keep hearing from everyone that I’ve missed out the worst of Delhi’s heat, by spending quite a bit of the summer at Mysore, where the weather’s divine, and because they all say that this year’s summer has been quite mild. I, on the other hand, think this much heat is enough: complaining that there isn’t more would be just masochistic.

No point in trying to sleep, so I decided to watch a few videos from ted.com. They certainly were great.

After a while, I did try to sleep. But I just couldn’t: the weather here’s too different from Mysore.

My first impulse after giving-up on sleep was to post something like this on twitter:

No power, it’s too damn hot… Can’t sleep. FTW.

I didn’t. I started writing this instead.

Posting something utterly trivial like that is effortless. Being glib is easy, and there are enough memes to pick from out there that you don’t even have to try and be original about it. Writing a long essay-like post, on the other hand, is hard work. You actually have to think over what you’re trying to say and frame it so that it’s approachable. I wouldn’t recommend trying to.

The culture of immediacy has been ingrained into us—at times it feels like if it’s not possible to do something right away, we might as well not attempt doing it. Too much immediacy leads to impulsiveness: don’t think twice, just do what you first thought of.

I don’t think it’s possible to build anything of value if we continue in this fashion. Initial impulses are seldom correct, despite all our hopes. Truthiness can only get you so far.

With access to all the world’s information a single search away, I just sort of stopped learning things. Why bother when you can just look stuff up when you need it? Just-in-time practices are after all supposed to be good, economically speaking (or so I’ve heard, haven’t bothered to verify), so why not apply it to our lives?

I’m not up to framing an answer for that question. Are you?


Plain data is just isn’t good enough. You’ve gotta learn how to absorb it, and transmute it into a shiny piece of information. I used to be able to do this at times; but lately I haven’t bothered trying.

I’m getting too complacent about learning things, maybe it’s time to start again.